Bringing a Loved One to School – Part Three of Four: I MADE IT IN!!!!!

15 Feb

(Spoiler alert!! If you haven’t read Bringing a Loved One to School – Parts One and Two, you may want to take a peek before you read this post.)

Last Friday was Bring a Loved One to School Day again! Seems like it came up really quickly this year. And when that email came soaring through cyberspace, I was so excited! After all, I knew my sweet sensitive son was still feeling bad about nixing my entrance into school last year. He was probably so relieved that we would finally be able to share this special day, right?

Wishful thinking. He tried really hard to get me to stay home. I mean, he is in 7th grade now, (he protested) – nobody brings their parents to school (of course they don’t, Ben) – wouldn’t I rather stay home and blog or bake or walk the dogs or meet a friend for coffee? (nope) . So, once again I wasn’t exactly invited. But unlike last year, he wasn’t quite as sweet and sad about it. And unlike last year, I didn’t care. I was going.  And if he kept badgering me about NOT going, I was going to have to make him pay by holding his hand while we walked to our classes, asking embarrassing questions, staying for lunch ~ everything. I think he believed me because he relented. I was going!!

It was fun from the minute we arrived. I think most of Ben’s friends know him pretty well, because when they saw me they made an extra effort to welcome me with hugs and loud greetings. Actually, everything seventh graders do seems to be a little louder and a bit more exaggerated than needed, but it was nice to know that if my son wasn’t going to be overly thrilled to have me around, his ‘peer’ group was cool with it.

Math was first block (we used to call this first hour). Oh my God! Back when I was in junior high school (the middle school concept had yet to be developed), if we had had smart boards, power  point presentations and Matho! (Bingo in math-talk), I think I would have gotten much further than I did by the time I graduated (I am too embarrassed to tell you how far I really got in math, but let’s just be reminded that I stopped helping Ben with his math homework in 2nd grade).  The kids in class were respectful, engaged and friendly (lots of sharing erasers and niceties). Ben’s teacher is young, enthusiastic and FUN. Beautiful!!! I actually learned a thing or two!

Next, I followed Ben toward the gym (followed, because I’m pretty sure he was trying to ditch me but his friends were always kind enough to let me know where to go and what to do next).The students knew to come in and warm up, then went through a series of sprints and runs. I loved the organization and sense of play instilled by Mr. G, another fabulous teacher. It was ‘beach volleyball’ day and Mr. G invited the parents to play!! With encouragement from my ‘friends’ (friends, not son, who just shook his head and smiled that OMG smile he has mastered), I made my way onto the court. I found the rules for four-way beach volleyball to be a tad confusing, so I just followed the lead of the (very nice) kids and the (sometimes a little too competitive) parents and got ready to play! I learned that some dads have no mercy (SLAM!), some kids are relentless (MINE!), some moms are natural athletes (heels and all) and some moms aren’t natural born athletes (me). I helped keep that humungous ball in the air once or twice and even attempted to get it over into another court. Attempted – one of my failed attempts might have lost us a point or a serve or something. I was kind of relieved when the game and the class were over.

Finally, for our last block of the morning, we found ourselves in Language Arts. Another incredible teacher, Mr. P invited the parents to participate with the students as they wrestled with and completed questions on moral dilemmas. I was beyond impressed with the complexity of the outcomes and explanations given by the students and encouraged by their sense of integrity and values. For as much as we sometimes think kids have lost their moral code through the years, sitting in that classroom reinforced my feelings that the world is still a wonderful, worthwhile place and we are still raising incredible citizens and thinkers. Great class!

At 11:00, my day was coming to a close. As Ben raced to the cafeteria, I collected my coat, chatted with a few other parents and went into the lunch room to say good-bye. I watched as my son laughed, joked and talked with his friends and slid so easily into both his chair and his environment. Love that kid. I waived, winked and went along my way.

There’s a part four to this….I have some (hopefully) interesting observations and insights into and even reassurances about the whole “middle school cool” thing. Please stay tuned for that.

And no matter what my son tells you, it is NOT entirely my fault that we lost that volleyball game. We may have lost by just one point, but since there were multiple points gained and lost, why on earth does MY one little oops moment have to be the defining one?

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