Thursday, September 22, 2011

519. Bad Dream

Tall came home from school with his daily bushel of Random Important Papers. His homework sheet said that he had to put a small paper bag together with five things that were important to him. He would be giving an informal presentation in front of the class about why each thing held significance. The sheet gave acceptable examples, such as “A ballet shoe if you like to dance” or “A favorite stuffed animal” or even “A drawing you made of yourself and your grandpa playing baseball.” Tall and I sat down and brainstormed ideas for his special “All About Me” bag. He had tons of great ideas, and I knew that whatever he ended up choosing would be perfect.

As usual, I went to bed around 11 PM.  The next thing I knew, the clock read 8:10 AM (the school bus comes at 8:15) and he had somehow not done the bag yet. We frantically ran all around the house, basement, laundry room, garage, patio, backyard, and even our neighbor’s backyard (?) desperately looking for appropriate things to put in the “Me, Procrastinator Version” bag.

“I’ve got it! I’ve got it!” Tall shouted in my direction. “Just chill, Mom, I have all five things!

A wave of relief washed over me (maybe it was more like a jolt of relief, as it was to be short-lived). As a quick precautionary measure (or reflexive parenting, not sure which), I double-checked what was in the bag. Five gruesome things stared up at me sardonically:
  1. The remote control to the TV (“I like to watch TV whenever I can, sometimes more”) and two back-up AAA batteries (“We go through a lot of batteries, what with all the violent cartoons and movies we watch and the excessive channel-surfing”)
  2. A half-eaten bag of M&M’s (“I thought my teacher and the School Nutritionist might like to know what we really eat for breakfast every day”)
  3. A handheld computer game called “Crazy Drivers With Big Guns and Lots of Noise, Level 8” that I had never seen before (“You let me buy this with my birthday money last year, remember, Mom?”)
  4. Three crumpled dollar bills (“This is to illustrate to my peers that money and what I can buy is the most important thing, and that my values are completely hollow”)
  5. A sheet of paper that at first glance looked like an innocent Christmas list. Thousands of things were written in minuscule writing on the multi-page list, with the heading: “Stuff I Want To Buy Or Other People Should Buy Me Immediately If Not Sooner.”
I woke up in a cold sweat. Ohmygod-ohmygod-ohmygod. The Husband walked into the room.

“MOV, it’s 7:05, I let you sleep an extra five minutes, but you’d better get up now. The kids are already dressed and I fed them breakfast. Tall wants to show you his school project, and he wants to know if it’s okay for him to take his soccer medal and that turtle he painted at the ceramic place. I told him to ask you, because the turtle might break. What do you think?”

I bolted out of bed to look at his bag. No remote control or batteries. No junk food/ candy. No horrible mystery video game that did not exist in real life. No dollar bills.

There was the soccer medal. The orange and yellow turtle. A LEGO airplane he had designed himself and built from spare LEGO pieces. Surprisingly, a Sacajawea coin cozied up to the turtle.

“Tall? Sweetie? Money is not the most important thing and our values are not hollow, so why are you taking this coin to school?” I could feel my voice rising.

“Well, I thought it would be cool to show everyone ‘cause the Tooth Fairy brought it to me.”

“Oh, oh, yeah. All right. That’s nice.” I smiled weakly. I reached in the bag and pulled out a rolled up piece of paper. I warily unrolled it, bracing for the materialistic Christmas list. Instead, I saw a detailed drawing of four smiling people and a large misshapen black and white horse, all holding hands (or hooves).

“This is not what I was expecting,” I mumbled to myself. “What’s this?”

Tall beamed at me, proud of his art. “That’s our family including the cat ... do you like it?”

I did.  A lot. 



  1. okayitseemslikemytimeisoutofsyncwithyourtimesoi'vegottorushmycommentfeelfreetoVirgoizeitbecauseiNEEDtobefirst..

    LOVE IT! -fawnover-

    Oh yeah, I'm an Aspiring Falconer. Go me! Just waiting to hit the age requirement (fourteen).

    -Aspiring Falconer Motaki

  2. Adrian had this same assignment. I made sure it was packed with stuff that made me look like a perfect mother. He even brought a framed picture of him lovingly hugging his sister. LOOKATUSWE'REALLPERFECTANDLOVEEACHOTHER!

  3. hi Motaki, you make me blush. not sure if I can live up to your falcon high standards!!

    Mary, oh mary mary mary mary, congrats on the 100 readers of your blog! Yay! even if you and/or your car smell like skunk, your blog smells good! Anyhoo, do Adrian and Tall perhaps have the same sadistic teacher trying to expose us lazy mamas as the wannabe not-good-enough-Martha-Stewart-hopefuls for what we really are (uh, human?). What is up with that?!? =O


  4. What a perfect birthday gift one day after your birthday.
    Love, Hobbes

  5. Sitting in a hotel room on I 81 on the way to see the one and only for parents weekend - you made me laugh out loud. I once said the tooth fairy had to go to the ATM...

  6. You needn't fret; my standards are only eagle-high, but your posts fly with the airplanes.

    (Wow, that sentence touched me. :)

    -Devoted Aspiring-Falconer Motaki

  7. Hahaha! I love this post! This is how I feel everyday when I send my son to school. I'm always worrying about how he is going to explain his day/family. I just got asked what "confetti pancakes" were, and when asked if they were frozen, I almost passed out. Love this!! -B.

  8. Hi Hobbes! How is your book coming along?

    Patty, glad I could make you laugh. :)

    Michael, yay!

    Motaki, making me blush.

    Anonymous, now I'm hungry (is the confetti chocolate chips?!?).



When you write a comment, it makes me feel like I won the lottery or at the very least like I ate an ice-cream sundae. (This has nothing to do with the fact that I did just eat an ice-cream sundae.)