Written when Leading Man #1 was in Middle School, June 2013
My son’s gym uniform has magically, mystically disappeared.
It’s just gone.
I checked with my folks and they checked the spare bedroom that is, unofficially, “our room” where Leading Man #1 and I stay when I’m in Jersey.
No gym uniform.
I crawled over the back of the Camry, the trunk of the Camry and even the Camry’s glove compartment.
No gym uniform.
TheEx and StepMom crawled over their cars and LM#1’s room.
No gym uniform.
I called the after school care program, the bus that takes my son to the after school care program, and his homework tutor, who checked the library where he receives homework tutoring.
One very courteous call from the after school care transportation director, but no gym uniform.
We quizzed our son extensively. He doesn’t remember where he left his gym uniform.
This of course happens eight days before the end of the school year when new gym uniforms are a hot commodity – presumably because every other kid lost theirs nine days before school ended – and nowhere to be found in the school store.
So the question, do I intervene and ask for special dispensation from the Gym Teacher, or do I let my son take the zero in gym? As the parent of a special needs child, I am constantly weighing when to step in and request special treatment for my son – an extra day to study on a test, extra time for a homework assignment – and when to let him take the hard knocks that come with being occasionally irresponsible.
The question I first ask myself before taking action is “What was going on at the time LM#1…forgot to study? Forgot his homework? Insert other reason here.” I then ask myself “Will the lesson I’m trying to teach be obscured by the panic teaching that lesson will induce?” If the answer to the first question is a change in routine and the answer to the second question is “yes” then I step in. If not…
I let my son take the Zero in gym class this time. School supplies, gym clothes included, cost me and TheEx money, sweat and tears fighting with other parents in the aisles of Tarjay (or Target, if you want to get technical about it). Try beating off another Mom for that last Lego Star Wars Trapper Keeper. It’s brutal. Marble composition notebooks cause a feeding frenzy. Snapping up erasable pens at Wal-de-Mort is an art form. Gym clothes require TheEx to deal with the local PSO, who uses a special website to secretly hoard them away I swear.
My son complained we ruined his life letting him take a zero in gym. TheEx felt a little bad about it.As the oldest of three sisters who’s own parents successfully did NOT ruin our lives several times over, I was unflinching. Leading Man #1 is 12 going on 13, and therefore hitting his teenage years. The blame we accepted ruining his life this once is nothing, a small ripple in the pond of adolescent blame yet to be heaped upon us as parents. This is the first time we will ruin his life in the next five to seven years. There will be many, many more to come.
Personally, I think said uniform sat at the bottom of LM#1’s laundry hamper so long it got bored and grew legs, which it used to crawl out of the Laundry Hamper and make haste from my son’s room before it could be subjected to the horrors of Tide UltraClean with Bleach Alternative. Eventually we’ll find it ambling along the side of New Jersey Local Highway Route 17 North.
I really wish those things could move faster. I might have passed it as I made my way back to MA from NJ last weekend.