Monday, June 22, 2009
Before I write about this morning, I have to back up a bit.
Just as we were entering the weekend, Shannon noticed a mysterious rash on her body. It was in a patch on the front of her torso, and over the weekend, it spread into patches that go around the right side of her, onto her back. Naturally, I was concerned.
On Saturday, we had graduation parties all day. Graduation parties. Which signal, you know, the end of the school year. With graduation cakes and graduation cards and the whole drill.
Shannon has been done with school since about May 5. David finished on June 12, and Laura had her last test this past Thursday (June 18). It is hard for me to keep in mind that Jonathan still has school... especially when we celebrated with graduates all weekend.
However, to my credit, I did ask Jonathan, on Sunday, what he has coming down the pipe, which final exams are still ahead of him, what his schedule looks like this coming week. He responded, "I don't know. I'm not worried about it."
I did not say what I was thinking: "You may not be worried, but I am."
Shannon's rash got worse and worse. I determined to get up and shower early this morning and then, in a readied state, call the doctor promptly at 8:30 when they open, to try to get the earliest possible appointment.
That is exactly what I did.
I got out of the shower and was trying to hurry and get dressed and complete my morning "toilette" when the phone rang. It was 8:20. Who calls at 8:20? I looked at caller ID and it was the middle school. My heart sank. I had forgotten that Jon even had school today.
But wait. It gets better.
I picked up the phone, expecting to get the crabby attendance secretary, but it was not the crabby attendance secretary. It was Jonathan's guidance counselor. "Jonathan is marked as absent today," she said, "And I was just wondering, because that is pretty serious. They are giving the French Proficiency Exam this morning and it started five minutes ago."
I did not even know if he was up. I raced to his room and saw his duvet sprawled empty across his bed. What did that mean? He has an alarm clock, and theoretically he is supposed to get himself up and to school, but he never does. The difference this morning was that usually at least I know that he is missing the bus, as I sit with my tea in the kitchen, praying that he will respond to his clock. But not today. Not on the day he was missing his French Proficiency Exam, the one that goes on his permanent transcript record and eventually will be seen by every college he applies to. No, on this day, I had no idea where he was.
With the guidance counselor still on the phone, I raced through the house looking for him, trying to determine whether he had already left on foot or what. And how, how do you explain that to a guidance counselor? "I'm sorry," I said, "I just got out of the shower and I'm not quite sure where he is." (read: "I am a loser of a mother; I had no idea that he had the French Proficiency Exam this morning, and, in fact, I totally forgot he had school today at all. Would you like to send the police after me?")
I found him in the mud room putting on his shoes.
In my bare feet (fortunately, I was wearing capris and a decent top), I raced to the van, urging him to hurry along with me for a ride to school.
On the way to school, I did not cry. I did not scream. I did not even emote. However, I did try somewhat to impress upon him the gravity of the situation, while trying not to upset him to the point where he would actually do worse on the test (if that were possible?--this child will not stress about academics). He listened disinterestedly to me for a bit, then said, "Mom, chill. It's not like they aren't going to give me thirty minutes more than I actually need for this test, anyway."
Where did this child even come from?
Shannon has shingles, by the way. Shannon always gets upstaged by the younger ones.