Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Bitter End

If we were actual helicopter parents, would we allow something like "Senior Ditch Day" to even be considered in our household? First of all, let me point out that the potential for both of these occurrences are very real. We have this one kid, a son, who has been the focus of much if not all of our attentions and intentions since he came into the world some eighteen years ago. Since then, we have participated in ways both large and small, hoping to keep his nose clean and his future bright, which is infinitely preferable to the obverse.  Dark futures and runny noses are no way to go through life.
That's why we have been standing by with Kleenex and a flashlight, ready for any and all circumstances that would erupt to disturb any of the peace in our little kingdom. I will build playgrounds, make pancakes, attend meetings and even let my wife serve not one but two years as PTSA president in order to make sure that at no time does our little boy have to run afoul of any of the mundane disruptions to the flow of his orderly matriculation through childhood. And now, that's over. For official purposes, my son became legal in all kinds of ways. He announced the other night that now that is eligible to vote, he has no interest in any of the candidates who are currently running. That sounds pretty adult to me. He also, according to California Ed. Code, has the right to sign for and verify his own absences. Suddenly that hum of rotors becomes more distant. Mom and Dad, what do you think? Oh, that's right, you're not responsible for me anymore.
Dad, an elementary school teacher with a keen eye for Average Daily Attendance and its connection to funding for our academic institutions, and Mom who spends more time at my son's school than he does these days, talking often with the principal, have very mixed feelings about Senior Ditch Day. On the one hand, he is a kid who has never spent a day after school unless he was volunteering for something. He has been accepted into the college of his choice and it would be hard for us to argue that he held up his end of the bargain as far as getting through high school. It would also be somewhat hypocritical of me to insist that he attend every moment of every class until the end of his final semester, since I spent a good deal of time at the end of my senior year going out to lunch and hanging out on the front lawn playing football with my friends instead of showing up for those last most important instructional minutes in Ceramics and Pop Lit. I really don't have a leg on which to stand. Other than, "because I said so."
That's why we let it happen. Senior Ditch Day, Rite of Passage? For which I pull out my favorite family response: "Why not?"

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