There was a parent meeting at 8pm.
Why so late?
Because it was after the thing where they have parents run a shortened version of their kids’ schedules. Personally, I’m never interested in doing that. For one thing, thirty years go deceptively fast and wasn’t I just there? with my side ponytail and my rubber bracelets? While their old gym was my new gym, it still reeks of fear sweat.
Instead of asking why so late, maybe we should be asking, WHY AT ALL?
The meeting was held in Large Group Instruction, which is where I had health class. I don’t know what they have in there now, but it smelled like puberty and cattle. Yeehaw y’all.
My husband, ever social, chatted with the man in charge, while I eagle-eyed a woman carrying in refreshments. Refreshments are not a sign of a short meeting, you know.
As I watched the woman pour the Hawaiian Punch into the bowls, all I could imagine was RedDye#40 Moo, hived and bouncing off the walls, “Hey Mama! Hey Mama! Guess what?!? Hey Mama! Watch me! Watch me! Hey Mama! Ya know what?”
I said to Moo, “If you’re thirsty, maybe you could ask the lady for a glass of plain pineapple juice.”
It was Thursday, and that day I’d already worked in the garden, gone to work early, drove a hundred miles in circles to eat with my husband, scanned in over a thousand pages of documents, and driven home in rush hour traffic. I really, really needed to get home to my oversized tee-shirt and my dog and my sofa.
Refreshments were offered first.
The presentation was brief, and I thank that man for not reading to us from the screen. Has anyone actually experienced death by PowerPoint, or does it merely contribute to anger management issues?
I can sum up the presentation:
Your children are super duper talented and have been chosen and this is a great honor for all of us, and we’re going to take them far, far away from you for more days than you’ve ever been away from them in their whole lives and they will have the mostest fun, but also they’ll be learning and growing and sharing and creating and it’s going to be awesome, and it will make memories to last a lifetime and they will never forget all the wonder and magnificence of this trip and if you wouldn’t mind, we’d like just short of a billion dollars, not in change from your jar, and we’re not sayin they’re lucky because they’ve earned this privilege, but they’re lucky and we are all so excited and please you will pay for this because if you don’t your child will think you don’t love her as much as other parents love their children and she will feel the deprivation of this incredible opportunity and listen to more emo music at an even louder volume and cry a lot that week, and probably never forgive you because we have hyped it up to incredible proportions, okay, thanks.
Then someone asked the man if we should take questions first and I said, “Nooo!” in a most audible way and people turned to stare at me, some with contempt and some with smiles and I nodded as I said, “That’s right, I said it,” and then they took questions anyway. The answer to the first question was literally on the screen in front of us and that’s why I had to leave.
So often I feel these meetings could be addressed in an email, or a packet. I generally enjoy listening to people and hearing all the nuance in their voices, watching subtle emotions cross their faces. I like the way the details make up the big picture…
Parent meetings are literally the only times in my life where I take a stand on “Just the facts, ma’am.”
I really think I am suffering some sorta syndrome where I simply cannot tolerate parent meetings.
I seem to have crossed the threshold last spring. Just tell me who to make the check out to and leave me alone. Shame on me. Except fuck you, shame on you.
Have there been studies on this? I’ve always known I wasn’t a Cookie Cutter Mom, but damn.
As I stood in the hallway with Punch Lady and another mom, I asked the girls one of my top ten questions, “Where is your father?”
Then the women and I talked briefly about the universal laws of wifery, which include, but are not limited to, waiting for our husbands to stop jaw-jackin so we can go home and get out of these oppressive clothes, and wipe off this sexist make up, take off this heavy jewelry, and breathe.
Do you or have you suffered from this taboo condition? What requisite activity kills your tolerance?