Today when Mike (a.k.a. Jersey boy) and I went to pick Cheyenne up from school I noticed a boy waiting under the tree who had not yet been picked up. From his body language it appeared to me that he was a bit worried so I told Cheyenne we were going to stay parked at the curb until he was picked up. Cheyenne didn’t know the boy – she concluded that he was likely a sixth grader (she is now a seventh grader and apparently there is some cosmic barrier between sixth and seventh graders that I was unaware of – silly me). Cheynne was exasperated at the notion that I thought it a good idea to make sure that the boy got picked up. She said I was “crazy” and tried to gain Mike’s support to get me to leave the school. God bless Mike, he was right with me on this one.
One by one all the other kids went home and even the teacher on outside duty went home, but the boy was still out there. Finally, I decided that I was going to get out of the car and ask him if he wanted to use my phone to call someone. The act of me declaring my intent out loud, grabbing my phone and stepping out of the car caused such a spastic reaction in Cheyenne that you would have thought she was having a seizure (and I am not exaggerating one little bit).
As luck would have it, as soon as I stepped foot out of the car a minivan came along and picked up the boy. Cheyenne’s response was, “OH THANK GOD!” Apparently any successful contact with the boy would have been the end of the world as she knew it in her mind. She was saved by the minivan with only seconds to spare – apparently she lives in a merciful universe.
Of course salvation didn’t stop her from ranting on about how ridiculous she thought it was that we waited there until the boy was picked up. She told me her dad would never do such a thing – that I am the only one who does these kind of things. I explained to her that what I did – waiting to make sure the boy was picked up – was what I would want someone to do for her if I couldn’t get there and I didn’t really care if her dad or anyone else would do it or not.
Cheyenne says she will never do that to her kids when she is a mom. She says she’ll be a “cool mom” (which I think included the implication that I am not cool – seriously??!!). I said, “Just wait, until you are a parent – you’ll do the same thing.” She is sure she won’t…but she will. I am reminded of the quotation, “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” She will become her mother whether she likes it or not.
Of course I intend to live long enough to hear my grandchild tell me with horror how her mother sat at the curb of the school waiting for some unknown sixth grader to be picked up so that I can recount the events of this September day in 2011; then I will be able to tell my grandchild the same thing I said today, “Just wait, until you are a parent – you’ll do the same thing.”
And so goes the way we hope our parenting lessons are received and appreciated – maybe not today, tomorrow or next year, but when our children become parents. It is the circle of life – one middle school embarrassment at a time.
Day seven hundred and eighty-eight of the new forty – obla di obla da