Juggling Fire

School, and How I Lie

We made it through the second week of homeschool cooperative. Woo hoo. I wish I were one of those moms who lives for school events. Fact is, I’ve tried. I’m not.

Fortunately, my kids are cool with that.

I told Jaynee after our first homeschool parent meeting, “I’m sorry I’m not one of those moms who jumps for joy at the thought of school activities and parent meetings. I’d like to be the mom who loves playground duty and watching rehearsals, but I’m just not. I wasn’t with your brother, and as hard as I try, I’m not gonna be with you.”

For once, Jaynee and I saw eye-to-eye about something.

“That’s perfectly fine with me, mom,” she said. “I find those moms so annoying.”

Well, thank goodness for inappropriate perspectives.

Now, just to clarify, I do WANT to be one of those moms. I admire those moms, really. They are all perky and smiley and bubbly and seem to know everything there is to know about class parties and fun games and how many glue sticks the science class will need in a semester. They know all the curriculum books by name and Web site, which assignments their children are working on, where their children need to improve, and how many empty paper towel tubes it will take to build a fully-functional solar-powered dune buggy that will reach Neptune by the year 2023. That would be dangerous, of course, but they could build it. I just know it.

Yes, that is the mom I WANT to be. I want my kids to like eating bananas decorated like monkeys. Heck, I just want my kids to like eating bananas not decorated like monkeys. I want to brag that my children like to brush their teeth and eat mushrooms and broccoli and drink only lukewarm filtered tap water. I want to enthusiastically volunteer to sell T-shirts or burritos or overpriced windbreakers or whatever it is kids are supposed to be selling but their parents end up selling it instead this week.

I WANT to be the mom who brings cupcakes baked in ice cream cones instead of plain old paper muffin cups. How boring are just plain old blue muffin cups? I WANT all the other kids to say to my kids, “Your mom is the coolest mom in all the world!” and I want my kids to say, “Yeah, you’re not telling me anything.”

But the truth is, every time I go to a parent meeting, I can only think about how funny a sitcom the meeting would make: Mrs. Bubbly with her soft, sing-song cheer-me-ons trying to reason in her shrillest most calm voice with Ms. Negate, who not only was the state champion debater her senior year of high school 17 years ago but thinks she must defend her crown still to this day whether it be for the sake of sugar substitute on the salad bar or starting the football game at 7 instead of 6:30 because her boys just simply do not have enough time to finish supper.

These people are just way too funny not to share with the rest of the world.

Still, despite my disrespectful fantasy of having the next Seinfeldesque hit and being one written script away from my first Emmy, I repeatedly sit in the front row WANTING to participate, WANTING to raise my hand, WANTING to be one of those moms … but. I. just. can’t. stop. giggling. (on the inside, of course) about the absurdity of some of the notions expressed: The safety of our children are at stake! Every single solitary child in school could be sucked up by a giant red rubber children-eating balloon that will carry the kids overseas onto the coast of Venezuela where they will be forced to drink goat’s milk and eat plantain dumplings until the 5th of February, 2015.

Oh my, that would be terrible, Melinda.

Oh, that’s not what you said? Could you repeat that? I’m not sure what I was thinking about.

“I said, Ms. Dove, would you be available to bring celery sticks Oct. 8?”

Absolutely! My kids love a good celery stick!

That’s a lie. I just want to fit in.


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