Our kids’ elementary school has a bi-annual event where the kids get to bring one of their parents. Last year there was mother-daughter night; followed by father-son night. (Eddie and his dad missed it last year due to illness.) This year, there was father-daughter night in the fall, and mother-son night this spring. I of course knew the event was coming, and debated whether or not to attend.
All of these events include games, an opportunity for pictures, and finally…cake and punch. I knew that of all the choices, Eddie would only really enjoy the cake. This is what had me wondering if it was worth attending. It came down to one question…if Eddie and I went, would it be for me or for Eddie? If I’m going to be honest, it would be mostly for me.
After coming to that conclusion, I still wanted to go. I wanted to participate with my friends and their sons. I wanted to have a night out with Eddie. I wanted to bring Eddie so the other kids could see that he has a mother, too…and is a part of the school. Above all else, he REALLY loves cake.
The night of the event, I worried about how we would even get there. The school is one block from our house, but if we walked, he might think he was headed to actual “School”…at 6:30 at night. Likely, he’d think, “I already did this today.” “I’m too tired for more school!” “What is going on?!?” So, to avoid the inner monologue that would likely end in complete meltdown…we drove.
I grabbed Eddie, he grabbed his cane, and we climbed into the van for a one-block drive to school. Honestly, this worked great. He was happy we were going out…just the two of us. He walked into school totally content. We also beat the crowd by arriving ten minutes early. We went right in and got our picture taken, which in itself is always an adventure.
I’m always so worried about Eddie, that I can’t even begin to worry about my hair, or my smile, or even if I’m drooling. Luckily, the cameraman reminded me (on the fourth take) to at least look at the camera. The pictures came back today and they aren’t too bad; aside from the fact that my teeth are a little clinched because I was trying to say “Swing batter…batter…batter” while smiling and not moving my lips. (This was the key to Eddie smiling on this particular day.)
So, after pictures, I moved over to a table and looked around for cake. That is when I remembered that cake wasn’t going to be served until towards the end of the event. Hmmm…I knew that wasn’t going to fly. I stealthily snuck into the kitchen and asked if Eddie could please have his cake and punch now…and I mean right now. Yes, I played the “Eddie Card,” and nobody cared.
You know what? I decided that if he was going to get dressed up and have his picture taken for me, I was certainly going to get him his cake. Our window was very limited, and he was never going to make it another thirty minutes until the cake was served. Due to this minor advocacy for Eddie, we had a mini-night out without one outburst…until the end.
We went to leave the cafeteria, and Eddie took an abrupt right and headed towards his classroom. When he reached the door, he tried to open it, but of course it was locked. That was not a happy turn of events for him. Typically after leaving the cafeteria, he gets some free time, which I’m sure is what he was after.
Going at all was a risk, but I’m glad we took it. Why shouldn’t we have attended? Eddie deserved mother-son night like all the other sons…and I deserved it like all the other mothers. It’s easy to forget, but above all else, I am simply a mother.