My son was chosen as Student of the Month in his second grade class, so like all the other parents jammed into that elementary school cafeteria this morning, I was a proud mama.
I brought my camera and my smile. I kvelled (a Yiddish word meaning to beam with pride – usually referring to the chemical reaction parents have when they look at their offspring.) when his name was called. I dolled out lots of hugs and kisses before saying goodbye and heading off to work.
But then I got to thinking…. and I realized a few things. I know May is the last full month of the school year. I know that there were at least eight other times he could have been chosen but wasn’t. I know that every child gets picked at least once – teachers double and triple up kids just to make sure no one’s left out.
So what does being Student of the Month in May really mean? I got to looking around that room this morning, scanning the risers packed with fidgety kids, listening to the buzz of parents talking over the assistant principal’s announcements, and the truth hit me like a rubber dodge ball: We are the elementary school riff raff.
So I elbow my husband and tell him to “Look over there!” That’s the nose picker our son’s been telling me about for the last three years. And there is the kid sent to the principal’s office for throwing cake on the cafeteria ceiling. Ooh, right there is the annoying girl that doesn’t stop complaining about her boo boos. And there, in the middle of them all, is our son.
Now let me make this clear, my son is awesome. He’s funny and creative. He’s handsome and athletic. He doesn’t pick his nose (at least not in public). He doesn’t throw food. And he usually doesn’t complain – at least not too much.
But he has been known to run around the lunchroom and get a scolding (he’s not a fan of arbitrary rules). He did end up in the assistant principal’s office once this year for getting into a scuffle with a girl in the bus line. And his teachers were forced to move his desk to the center of the classroom so he wasn’t distracted by his friends.
There was no getting around it. He was one of them.
So what does that say about us, his parents? To be honest, I don’t know if I’m ready to look in that mirror just yet. But while I chew on it a bit, I know one thing for sure: the minute we get home this afternoon, I’ll be posting that Student of the Month proudly on the refrigerator door.