Polka-dotted Birkenstocks

At the beginning of the semester I had to drop off Eli’s PE waiver at the last minute before the deadline. I texted him that I would be at his school during lunch so he could sign the form and get it to where it needed to go.

He agreed and told me to meet him in the front of the school. I understood the front as inside the entry way. I waited and he never came.  I texted and called but it went directly to voicemail.

The bell rang and the halls swarmed with teenagers like someone just took a bat to a beehive. The students gave me confused furtive glances as they passed. You are a parent. You are old. Why are you standing there? After a few minutes I decided to leave but then ran into Eli walking in from outside.

“What are you doing in the school?”  His face said panic.

If he had a net, a bag or a blanket, he would have covered me with it and pushed me into the custodian’s closet. He then would have instructed me to quietly push the paperwork under the door and remain in the closet until everyone was in class and the hallways were clear.

Apparently, I was supposed to meet him outside in the courtyard to minimize his exposure to my parental toxicity.

I have not been back until this morning.  Eli had a late start so I drove him to school as a kind gesture.  As we neared campus, Eli asked me if I was planning to come in, and if I was, he would prefer that I not.

“I wasn’t planning on it but am I that embarrassing to you?”

“No, not really.  But you are wearing clown sandals (translation polka-dotted birkenstocks) and the running clothes.  Mom, no one wants their parents at school.”

He got out of the car and tossed me one of his charismatic smiles.  It made me forget my disgusting parental status.

On the drive home I thought about bringing my circus freakshow self to my daughter’s elementary school. There I could expect to be greeted by a big smile, a hug and maybe even a compliment.

“I love your sandals mom, are they new?”

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