Monday, June 22, 2009

This morning

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.


Hope T. said...

Wow, it seems like this is really late for school to still be in session. My kids have been done for many weeks and I don't think I would handle it well if we still had to slog through the routine.

I was wondering why an exam for a middle school student would be looked at by colleges. My mother went all through school in New York and always told me what a thorough education she received and that they often had to take what she called "regents". Perhaps that extends down to middle school, also? Anyway, I hope he did well on the test and also that your daughter's shingles is getting better! I hear that can be extremely painful.

ruth said...

Yes, it is super late. I grew up in Minnesota, and we got done with school at the end of May. The farm kids had to get to work on their farms come spring! I feel outraged every year when my kids are still in school as the summer solstice passes.

The test Jonathan was missing was a French language assessment. First year French is broken down into two years in this district, 8th and 9th grade. Other districts may choose to teach the whole course in 9th grade, but here they feel the students do better to split it over two years, so it is the ONE eighth grade class that goes on the permanent transcript.

Thanks you, yes, Shannon is starting to feel better. The past two days were the worst. Ironically, shingles are usually triggered by stress, but she's been past her big stress for a few weeks now. I told her that was some delayed reaction!

Do you have a website? I can't get to anything when I click on your username.

Ruth MacC said...

I am surprised they let him take the exam. Over here they wouldn't even phone. How did he do with the exam anyway?

Glad Shannon is feeling better.

ruth said...

Hi Ruth!

They actually held up the test for him. I don't know how he did, but I hope he passed. He did not crack a book for it, although he told us that one of his good friends studied for five hours. Jon said, "He studied for five hours, and he still didn't know all the same stuff that I didn't know." His assessment of the assessment was that it was really hard, but he was not worried about it. We'll get the report in a week or so.

Hope T. said...

No I don't have a blog. My son set up my account so that I could blog and I tried it for about 3 days and then deleted it :). I was nervous about being too personal and being impersonal just did not set the right tone or interest level. I've just heard of too many bloggers, even mommy bloggers, getting hate mail and cruel comments for expressing an opinion on a controversial subject and since just about any topic could bring up anger in some segment of the population, I did not want to risk it. I don't seem to have the talent for letting things "roll off my back" so I thought it better just to read a few favorite blogs and write the occasional comment.

Your blog is fun for me to read because of your emphasis on your everyday life and your thoughts about it. My life is similar in that I am a 42 yr. old mother at home (I have 5 kids) and I am quite introspective (some people would say too much so, and they would probably be right). I also think that some of our smaller commonalities are amusing like what colors we like to wear and the fact that we sorely miss having a broom closet. My family is constantly tripping over our vacuum which just falls out of the coat closet and you are the only other person I have ever heard wonder where in the world to store the vacuum. I guess everyone else knows something we dont't :).

ruth said...

We DO have a lot in common! What are your kids' ages?

Ha! I've heard stuff about nasty comments and stuff, but you and Ruth from Ireland are the only people who read my blog, besides approximately three people I know in real life. So that has not been a problem for me, except I have lost some real life friends for writing in hyperbole in the past. Hyperbole always gets me in trouble. Only a very few people seem to know when I am kidding, because I have a rather dry demeanor. Once in awhile I find myself amongst people who laugh at me even when I am not so much trying to be funny, and I just love it. My dream is to have a whole circle of friends who "get" me. That's probably a very selfish and self-serving dream. I should probably just try to change myself. A daunting prospect.

Actually, when I teach Bible study, the ladies there "get" me... they are loving and accepting and they understand when I am being funny and they laugh. They are such a blessing! Why is there such a difference between being in the front of a large room as opposed to sitting across a coffee table from someone?

Hope T. said...

Your dry sense of humor sounds like my husband's. When he makes one of his straight-faced jokes, people will look at me and ask "Is he kidding or...?" Maybe you could have someone who knows you well "interpret" for you.

My children are 16, 12, 9, 4, and 17 months. All boys. My house is loud and crazy sometimes and we have a big age spread which is interesting. We've got the newly- licensed driver down to the newly gets-into-absolutely-everything toddler. We celebrated our 20th anniversary last week and I feel like a very blessed woman
(in my sane moments, that is).