Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Being Too Sick to Skip School for the Seahawks Parade

Nick is at home with the flu. I've put things on hold and have been at home with him. Tomorrow morning, I head out and I'll leave him to be home and sick by himself while I go to a meeting. The problem with him being sick tomorrow is that the Seahawks parade is also tomorrow and everybody is going. I mean everybody. One parent guessed that three quarters of the student body will be out of class tomorrow. Wow!

One school district told their kids to go have a good time. Nick's school actually sent out an announcement that tomorrow is an academic day and that, despite what parents think, kids are expected to attend and will have to make up work that they missed.

So, what do you do when everybody's skipping and your own kid is really sick?

It isn't fair.

I wish Nick were going to the parade. Or I wish he were going to school to get kudos for showing up when everyone else skipped. He isn't getting either. I'm tempted to send an email to the school saying as much.

Life is like that some times. Everybody else is getting into trouble and you're trying not to get into trouble, but your excuse sounds lame when a bunch of other people use the same excuse. I guess those are the breaks.

My parents tried to teach me that life was going to be fair. Oh to unlearn that stupid message. My dad used to get mad when people broke or bent the rules. Life was supposed to be fair and he was supposed to make it fair whenever he could. Sometimes I could see that he wanted to make people follow the rules. I go three or four miles over the speed limit when I'm out and about in my car. I just know that would have annoyed the shit out of him. He would have hated lots of things that I do.

He died when I was thirteen. It may have been almost forty-one years ago, but I remember how hard it was and I still miss him, or my idea of him. Have I turned him into someone else in all these years? Oh, I almost definitely have. It takes some work to get myself near the truth of my father. I love when I can remember some detail about his joy, but there were also those uncomfortable times when he was angry about something. I didn't want to be around him when he was angry.

He would not have let me go to that parade. I just know it. I watched him fight with my sister when she was a teenager. She was easy. I would have been much harder. I rebelled. More than once, I wondered if I didn't have it easier because I didn't have to battle my dad for control of my life when I was growing up and leaving home. He didn't let her get a job until more than half way through college. He kept telling her that school was her job. She lived at home and took so many classes that she graduated within three years with nearly all As on her record.


I wanted to experience college, the dorm, the parties, pulling all nighters before a test, sleeping through class and even struggling through some of the same classes my father took. He was married with two children when he was in college. He struggled. He didn't experience classic college life either, so he wouldn't have understood what I wanted if I'd had to make an argument for it. How do you explain the value of standing outside on the coldest night of the year, a weeknight, and watching for three hours as the Nude Olympics were run in the quad? How do you explain how it felt to walk into the same bar every Friday night and have the crowd cheer your names or the fact that your crew gave you money for gas so you'd still have 67 cents to pay for your first beer? How do you explain Pink Floyd and Rocky Horror and buying new underwear instead of doing laundry? That's a hard sell, don't you think?

So, let's say Nick wasn't as sick as a dog tomorrow. Would I let him go to the parade? I might, but only if I thought it would stand out in his memory of the one big events of that year. I might if he were a real Seahawks fan and not just a kid who noticed when they won the playoffs and all the other kids were talking around him. I might if three or four of his best friends were also going and they could all go as a crew to cheer the team as they returned victorious.

I might.

But unfortunately I won't be. I'll get up early and sound guilty as I call Nick in sick on the attendance line. Instead of cheering at the Seahawks parade, he'll spend the day on the couch, watching cartoons, eating soup, and coughing. And his teachers will be mad at him when he returns to school anyway.

Life is just not fair, is it? And it's not supposed to be, is it?

Thank you for listening, jb

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