The Last ‘First Day’
Well, cocktail hour had to start a little early for this one. Today was the last ‘first day’ lunch with my son, Noah. Lordy, I’m going to embarrass that boy with this post, but that’s the way it goes.
Noah and I started a tradition when he went into kindergarten. We always had lunch on the first day of school. Here’s what Noah looked like about the time this started. Yes, he is holding his cat Max wearing a birthday hat. Max was not happy about this.
Noah always got to pick the spot. His favorite for years was Chick Fil-A. I know I’m not spelling that right, but I’m on a roll here. Noah would bring all his papers to lunch – what I was supposed to sign up for, what he needed to buy for supplies, the annual soaking we got to join the P.T.O. Over the years, I was the “soup lady” at Lipscomb Elementary, the “art teacher” (that was a joke – even the kids surmised I knew nothing about art), and the field day volunteer (now that was fun). The day he “graduated” from elementary school (these days they have graduations for everything), he came out of school crying because he was leaving Lipscomb. We went over to the middle school where he’d go next year and sat in the bleachers on the football field. It seemed to help. But we didn’t have lunch that year. He said he wasn’t hungry, so we just went home.
In middle school, among other things, I forced him to go to Cotillion. My mother forced me to go, too, but I was a girl and I ended up liking it. Cotillion is where you learn manners and etiquette and dancing. I still remember how to foxtrot. And I can decipher a formal place setting up to about 437 knives, forks and spoons. Well, Noah just hated Cotillion. The “graduation” (yes, graduation even for dancing lessons) was the Holly Ball at the University Club in Nashville. Here he is looking all spiffy in his tiny tuxedo. And my hair was still red. Ah, those were the days.
So, fast forward to high school. All of a sudden, Noah’s taste changed. A chicken sandwich just wasn’t doing it for him anymore. He wanted sushi and not that namby pamby California Roll stuff. He went hard core. Eel and giant fish eggs. Sadly, he also got his driver’s license during this time, forcing me to lose containment once again. The first time was when he crawled out of his crib one night and “surprised” me in the office. So my $10 Chick Fil-A lunches turned into $30 sushi extravaganzas.
Today we went to Sake for lunch. There were no papers to look over. He’s a senior in high school now and they don’t “send home” papers anymore. But we talked about his classes and his new teachers and the fact that in just one more year, he would be off to college and there would be no more “first day” lunches. He tried to make me feel better. “We’ll still have a first day lunch,” he said. “It will just be before I leave for college.” But I know better. He’ll take off down the driveway and that will be the end of that.
I’ve been profoundly lucky in my role as mother. Noah has turned out just fine, despite all the mistakes I made that will send him into some kind of therapy by the time he’s 30. I like my kid. I like talking to him. I’m interested in his thoughts. It’s all good in the hood.
Noah has been in and out of the office about five times in the last hour, just moritified that I’m writing about this.
Well, payback’s hell, sonny boy. We have hundreds of photos of you that you find embarrassing and we find endearing. So let me leave you tonight with Noah in bath towel and daddy’s running shoes. The last “first day.” I already miss it.