“Okay, fine, good.” These are the answers I get when I ask my children about school. None of the responses – including the good – go along with enthusiasm. When I ask for more details, it is as if the children were trained by the CIA and refuse to give out information. However, there are those rare days when the children are excited about their school day. Those are great days, and I love to share their enthusiasm. SJ had just such a day on Monday.
I work 5 days a week. I am out of the house by 6 A.M. and return at approximately 4:45 (work often continues after the children are asleep). My wife works five days a week. For three of those days, she is in the city. She leaves just after she drops SJ off for school and returns home by 7 P.M. The two days she works from home she is expected to be working her standard eight hours.
I am thankful that we are both employed and have managed to stay so throughout the recession and the tepid recovery. We have not had to fret over bills (though I occasionally forget) and have not had our salaries reduced. We have been fortunate. No complaints despite the long hours. That’s life, and we accept it.
When SJ gets excited, it is hard to understand what he is saying. He talks fast, and his details are all over the place. Yet, on Monday he was very clear. He was happily rambling on about a Thanksgiving Festival his school was going to be having. SJ informed me that BR, my wife, my mother, and I were all invited and there was room for everyone. He would be singing songs. There would be food for everyone. The details kept spilling out of the smile that was his mouth.
He was thrilled, so I was excited. Of course, I would go to see this grand performance. “When is it?” He had no idea.
“Come on daddy. Let’s look at the note in my back pack. They sent a note home for you.” He hurried down to the kitchen, opened his back pack, took out the note and gave it to me. He instructed, “Read it.”
I read the note and was sickened. The big event was on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at 1:30. Why? Why do they make these events, psyche the kids up, and then schedule them during the workday? Of course, the notice mentioned how we must reserve as the event has been a tremendous success in the past with many family members attending. How can they attend, I wondered? Don’t they have jobs, daily responsibilities?
I’m sure all of the parents have daily responsibilities. However, many find a way to fit this event into their schedule. But I can’t. I can’t go. I feel guilty. I feel like crap. I have a limited amount of days I can take off of work – like everyone else – and have used some already. My wife does not know if she can make it either as she is in the office on Tuesdays. Lastly, we don’t want to pull my other son out of school to attend. My mother, however, will be attending. Thankfully, she is retired and enjoys attending the children’s events.
So, SJ will have representation. Despite this, I am angry about being put in this situation. As a father and educator, I am thrilled to see my son excited about something at school. I am glad the school has gone to this effort which is motivating students (well, at least one). It is no one’s fault.
Sometimes, it really would be nice to be in two places at one time!