Saturday, June 8, 2013


Garrett had an appointment for kindergarten testing yesterday. The appointment was at 9:45 and, as the result of a swimming lesson registration blunder, I found myself running out the door like a crazy woman at precisely 9:39. It takes me about four minutes to get to his school. At exactly 9:43, he went tearing across the parking lot with a giant stuffed turtle, spun on his heels, yelled, "Whoops!" and came running back to the car with the animal. Of course I'd already locked it so I twisted the key in the lock again, threw open the door, tossed the turtle in, and we both took off across the parking lot. We stopped in front of his classroom with approximately no seconds to spare.

I found his teacher having a discussion with another teacher which included her saying, "Sayonara," and the other teacher saying, "Maybe you can sub," and her saying, "I don't want to sub," and, "It is what it is."

Naturally, my mind jumped directly to the thought that she was leaving the school. Truth be told, I immediately diagnosed her with a case of pregnant and not returning for the next school year. And here's the thing, until that very moment, I didn't know that I love her.

Do you know that scene in Clueless where Cher is walking in front of the fountain and suddenly the music swells and she declares, "I love Josh!" but up until that very moment, she didn't know it? It was like that. Except not really at all like that because I don't actually have a crush on Garrett's kindergarten teacher. But I was suddenly tingly all over and, honestly, kind of mad. I mean, good for her for being pregnant and good for her for wanting to stay home with the baby. Everyone knows that's the decision I would make--have made. BUT SHE'S MY FAVORITE TEACHER TO SUB FOR! And, what dawned on me yesterday was how desperate I am for Matthew to have her in a year.

This was a weird realization because Garrett's teacher and I are nothing alike. NOTHING. She (appears to be): quiet, reserved, introverted. The keep to oneself type. I: loud, demonstrative, extroverted. The let's invite everyone we know type. It's very difficult for me to know what to do or say or how to act around very quiet people. I tend to talk and talk and talk in an attempt to fill the acute awkwardness. We usually end up with a giant pile of my own word vomit and me singing R.E.M.'s Losing My Religion in my head. "Oh no I've said too much..."

So for a few months, Garrett's teacher intimidated me more than anyone has intimidated me in a good, long while. Her, with her quiet, business like personality. Me, with all the word upchuck. It was weird and uncomfortable. Then I started to substitute teach for her and she writes the absolute best, most concise sub plans. And then a kid took his pants off in class. And we laughed. And everything started to change.

Then there I was, sitting in a cold folding chair, thinking about how she couldn't leave. Sure, Garrett's going to go ahead and pass kindergarten and head off to first grade and, sure, we could change tracks or schools or any number of things before Matthew gets there in 14 months and, sure, there are other teachers in other schools for me to sub for BUT JUST NO. SHE CAN'T LEAVE BECAUSE, APPARENTLY, I LOVE HER TOO MUCH. She's structured and calm and everything Matthew needs in a teacher.

So I did what any normal person would do? I totally came right out and asked her. Which I never do because I feel like people will disclose the details of their lives when they want to. I don't usually nose around in some woman's business. So, when Garrett was done testing, he came out, grinned, and declared, "I'm reading at a J level!"

I smiled at him and said, somewhat blandly, "Great job. Can you go play on the playground for a minute?" Then I just came out and butted my head right into his teacher's business with a quick (and somewhat desperate), "Are you leaving?"

Turns out I read the situation so completely wrong it's ridiculous. She's not leaving. She's not pregnant. (Well, at least, I don't think she is. I didn't actually ask that question.) She's going to Korea for three weeks in the summer. The other teacher thought she should sub while she's there. And Sayonara makes a lot more sense given the context. So I confessed my undying love for her. Although I veiled it by saying, "Oh good! I really want Matthew to have you. And I really like subbing for you." Because everyone knows that's code for I love you.

We talked for awhile and then moved to the door. Then, and this is really the point of this entire story, she said, "I can't believe Garrett's reading at a J!" And that's when it dawned on me. For some reason, in my slightly panicked state, I had incorrectly believed that J came after G in the alphabet. See, Garrett's been reading G books for homework for the past several weeks. When he told me he was reading J, my mind just went one higher which was great but not GREAT! I mean, if he'd said that he was reading H books I would have been proud of him, of course, but not in a blown-away-wow-what-a-super-smarty-pants-kid-I-have kind of way.

"OH!" I exclaimed. "A J!" I turned and looked at Garrett, "YOU'RE READING AT A J? BUDDY THAT IS SO GREAT!" He smiled and nodded. I looked at his teacher, "I was so concerned that you were leaving, I didn't even realize what he said."

She smiled. "He skipped H and I."

Yeah. That. And also, I'm a horrible mother who, apparently, doesn't even hear her kid half the time.

But my kid is reading at a second grade level. (The kindergarten bench mark is a C.) And that's the whole point of this post. I probably could have said all that without allowing you a glimpse into my obsessive personality. Ah well. I'm just keepin' it real.

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