Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bleach? Check. Fish Sticks? Check. Back To School? You Betcha!

I just returned from my second of four Parent Nights at my kids' schools. For the second time I sat through the Superintendent's message on why we need to pass another referendum. I don't disagree with it, by the way. When you live in the fastest growing school district in the state and your high schools will be over capacity by 1300 students in 2 years and your elementary schools will hit that same level in five years, well, yes, I say, build some stuff. I just don't love sitting through the same speech several days in a row. If it weren't for a visitation tomorrow night, I'd get to sit through it again. I'd probably go all Bad Student and start to quietly mock it, so even though a visitation isn't such a good thing, it's a good thing for me--and likely anyone who would've been subjected to sitting next to me. (Why is it that teachers make such incredibly bad audiences? Wait. It's just me? Oh. Well, huh. Never mind.) My beloved will attend instead.

My beloved's attendance at school functions doesn't happen all that often. It's not that he isn't involved or doesn't care--his involvement in my two oldest's mathematics has kept them on or above target and allowed me to maintain my sanity, because as I may have mentioned before, math is, like, you know, hard 'n' stuff. It's just that his job keeps him on the road, so often he isn't home to go to events like Parent Night or band concerts or school plays. He tries to get there if he can, but sometimes it just doesn't work out. But even if he's in town and an event like Parent Night is on the calendar, it's not a certainty that he will be there.

We have taken a bit of the "divide and conquer" approach toward these types of events. There's not really any reason for both of us to nod off through watch the Superintendent's speech three times. We don't both need to go listen to each teacher talk about curriculum and homework and behavior policies. I can take care of that. After all, I was a teacher. I'm comfortable with the language and the vocabulary. I enjoy being in a school setting. My nostrils are attuned to the smell of the hallways. (It's strange, but every school smells like a mixture of bleach and fish sticks and construction paper. Every. Single. One. It's not a bad thing. In fact, it's a bit reassuring to know that no matter where you go, every school will smell that way.) I get excited right along with the teachers as they explain all of the things my student will be learning in their class.

My beloved? Well, let's just say that while he's not uncomfortable in a school, there are loads of other ways that he can think of to better spend his time. It's cool. I get it. If you put me at one of his trade shows or with some of his customers, I can state fairly confidently that I could think of loads of other places I would rather be. My point is, is that his non-attendance at some of these things works out alright for us.

Much like our vomit agreement, this is something that has evolved over time and has worked for us. I know that when something big comes up, he will bust his hump to attend. It's understood that if there's a problem with one of our children, we meet it together, head-on, as a team. We know that if there's a math question above fourth grade math, it goes to him. He is on call for all math related questions, any time of the day no matter where he might be. (Because I am a big, math phobic baby and math is haaaaarrrrd, y'all!) I am the go-to-girl for any question related to English, grammar, or writing. Although now we are adding Spanish to my list as well.

So as we start the new school year and the kids bring home seven metric tons of papers to be signed and forms to be filled out, it's not a surprise that all of the signing and filling out falls to me. It's not strange that I've got Parent Night written in three different boxes on my family calendar. That's part of my job. And most of the time, I'm good quite happy to fulfill my end of it.

But I have to say, I'm already grateful that it will be my beloved squishing himself into a junior high desk tomorrow night and filling his nostrils with the lovely smell of the junior high hallways (add to the usual smell of bleach, fish sticks, and construction paper a vague whiff of body odor and a hint of Axe). Because I'm fairly certain that if I had to listen to that referendum speech again, I might not be able to contain my urge to snicker and throw spitballs.

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