Saturday, September 09, 2006

I love summer vacations spent with my children and feel a twinge of sadness with each new school year. Just yesterday it seems my son Jordan, my youngest, told me and his sister Tabitha that he’d had a “bad day” in Kindergarten.

This year my Baby, who’s now taller than his mother is a high school freshman surrounded by kids he’d never met until this school year. So far he appears to be enjoying himself. He’s making friends, likes the classes, teachers, and even the “crazy” girl he’s sitting next to in English class is tolerable.

I still have a vivid picture in my mind of Jordan in the hall at St. Anastasia’s School in Hutchinson, Minnesota where he went to Kindergarten. He was happily carrying what for a little boy was a large pumpkin and carrying it very well until he saw his Mommy. Suddenly his entire demeanor changed and he dramatically let the pumpkin roll out of his arms onto the floor and slumped to his knees in utter exhaustion. Despite a much anticipated field trip to the local pumpkin patch, he’d had another “bad day.”

Like most young children who’ve spent all day at school trying to be good, when he arrived on his home turf it was time to vent. Jordan’s “bad day” never officially began until I picked him up. I had seen him in action at school and I, my school spies, and his teacher all agreed he loved it. He also loved evoking his Mom’s attention and empathy. His sister was not so sympathetic, and she immediately called him on it.

Tabitha and I still laugh about how Jordan would insist I ask him how his day went, everyday after school – just so he could tell me how bad it was. It didn’t take him long to figure out my pity was less than sincere and we were laughing behind his back at his theatrics. Jordan likes to make people laugh as long as they're laughing with him and not at him - so by first grade, when I asked about his day he’d learned to share what was good about it.

Now both my children are in high school.

I still remember being a student myself in Mrs. Stone’s civics class at Ernest Ward High School in Walnut Hill, Florida, watching the clock tick and wishing the bell would ring. I couldn’t wait to graduate from high school. Time stood still when I was a teenager as I’m sure it does for my own children but once you’re a parent it’s never slow enough.

Yesterday, I talked with my Uncle Jim Cox about how quickly time goes by. His wife, Loretta, my maternal aunt who I affectionately knew as Aunt Sissy died recently of ovarian cancer. He said, they’d been married for 45 years and 13 days and it wasn’t long enough.

I told Tabitha what he said and then asked, “You think you’re Daddy would say that? We looked at each other and both started laughing. No! Well I told her we’ve only been married for 17 years; I got 28 to work on it!