Today’s blog post is about March birthdays and suburban momhood, and is brought to you by the letter “M.”
The month of March marks the birthdays of a disproportionate number of my kith and kin. Today alone, there are five!
One of these is my (younger) brother Michael, who is claiming to be “officially old as dirt.” When questioned about what exactly that makes me, he mentioned cosmic aether (grin).
So – Happy Birthday to all the March birthday sweeties! May you be surrounded with love, light and laughter! I love you.
March! March begins with “M”! Muah-hahahaha.
This last Thursday, we went to Ben’s school recital. Maybe it was just the mood I was in after having to arrange a whole bunch of things in a hurry before we got there – I was tired and a little punchy – but I really had to concentrate on not letting myself burst into wild raucous laughter. It’s all so unreal. The only thing that centered me at all was Ben, catching my eye and smiling at me. I love that kid. Only for him could I be dragged into such a scene.
It was held at the nearby middle school, which has a bit more room than the elementary school he attends. Middle school! Middle school begins with “M”! Muah-hahahaha.
Anyway, this was a big favor, unprecedented I think, and so everyone was being grateful and welcoming and sweet, but it was all slightly off. The principal, really a smart and lovely woman, had that warm charming “principal voice” on. It’s so over the top, even John was hiding a smile, but I can see the reason for it. She really does make the kids feel welcome and secure – and I think it works for most of the parents, too.
As usual, they held the PTA meeting before the performance. They nominated and elected next year’s officers, and approved the last meeting’s minutes, and approved the financial statement – all by the rules, but it certainly wasn’t an environment suitable for asking questions or making motions or anything of the sort. All the parents wanted was to move it along so they could watch the kids! It’s all so pro-forma. One thing that is always very funny is that they totally ignore when anyone in the audience says “Nay.” To be fair, it’s usually children who do, but not always.
I kept threatening to stand up and move that children’s recitals not be used to mandate attendance at the PTA meeting, but John talked me out of it. Move! Move begins with M! Muahhhh-hah-hahaha-hahahahaha.
There was an inspirational reading from a sweet gal that always finds something to share. This time is was from Robert Fulghum’s Uh-Oh. She read a bit of it, and then related it to the parental sense of loss as the kids grow up – and go to middle school. To me, it was clearly the parent’s perspective as it relates to their children, but she was in tears later because evidently the elementary school principal misinterpreted her intent. I assured her that the message was very clear to me, and voiced back to her my sense of the mood, content and intent. It seemed to help a little. I hope so, because although the “inspirational message” is always very sentimental, it always addresses the parents and is fitting to the occasion.
The reason for all the concern was, I think, because next up was the middle school’s assistant principal and he started with “I hope it’s not an ‘uh-oh’ for your children to come to the middle school.” He started trying to talk about school improvements, and tried to project a welcoming stance. However, he wasn’t very adroit in this kind of messaging at all, and he just didn’t have the ability to know when to stop. The more he talked, the more he dug himself in. (What? I didn’t know there were any rumors to be concerned about until just now!) The more he tried to soothe the audience, the more he invoked things that alarmed the parents. It was hilarious. Messsaging! Messaging begins with M! But is it a real word yet? I’m not sure.
They had the traditional pledge of allegiance – under God and all. I know I’m overly sensitive to this issue, but it still bugs me. I know that by the time kids have any real sense of what it means, they don’t have to do it anymore. I shouldn’t get irritated about it. As a comedian – his name escapes me at the moment – recently said, the pledge just functions as a cup of coffee for the kids, a ritual to give them a space to wake up and ready themselves. Ben salutes the flag – it’s not such a big deal. I still don’t salute the flag. My years of explaining why one shouldn’t kind of stuck with me. I noticed once again that a number of other parents don’t salute the flag either. Most, if not all, of this is because they aren’t American; there are a lot of international families in our area. I’ll bet their kids do salute though, and I think that’s inappropriate – even if you do treat a national flag as though it were a sacred object, why would you want someone pledging something that isn’t true for them just to blend in? Sigh.
The music director is really great and they are lucky to have him. He’s kind, enthusiastic and talented. He loves those kids, and they love him. He chooses somewhat challenging music for them to sing, but they really enjoy it. Music! Music begins with “M”! Muah-hahaha-ha-ha.
Ben was nervous about the performance. He asked me to grade him. “A, B, C – I can take it.” He looked so cute, waving his little headball like a muppet (Muppet! Muppet begins with M!), singing his heart out. He was buried in the mass of children, though, and I couldn’t seem to get a good picture.
There were perhaps five or six songs sung, one of them in Latin. The music director actually had them doing three-part harmony, and syncopated clapping. It wasn’t bad, and although I privately thought that the selection last semester was a bit better, I gave Ben a resounding “A” on his own performance. There were a handful of really talented singers, and the normal number of kids that kind of just stood there, mouthing the words they remembered. Everyone liked the clapping parts, though, even the kids that clearly don’t like to sing, so they are at least getting a sense of rhythms. It’s all good.
The upper grade’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” on the recorder almost made me fall off my chair trying not to burst into laughter. I had completely forgotten about the recorder, and the whole cultural school “thing” about playing the recorder. Does anyone play it after they graduate from public school?
I’m not really cut out to be a suburban mom. All of my reactions seem so out of step with the other parents. If it weren’t for my overwhelming love for this one little boy, I would go into full witchy (that’s mostly with a “w” and not a “b” – and an “m” wouldn’t really make any sense here) mode. But… Mode! Mode begins with M! And MOM! MOM begins and ends with M! Muah-hahahaha-ha-ha (choke).
Well, at least I’m learning to enjoy the humorous aspects of it all.
The blog post was brought to you by the letter “M.” Mmmm-mmmmm. M.