“Oh, hi!” I said as I realized who it was. I realized I didn’t know her first name; I always called her Mrs. So-and-so, as my son did. Then, “Is everything alright?”
“Everything’s fine,” she probably had to preface most of her calls to parents that way. “I just wanted to let you know that there’s a permission slip in your son’s take home folder. We have a field trip tomorrow.”
“Oh, that’s right!” I remember putting that in a pile of papers before vacation.
“Yes, so I’m just calling parents…”
“Oh, good, so I’m not the only one.”
“No, no. Don’t worry about it. Just make sure he brings it in tomorrow.”
“Will you be walking?” The kids were going to the town library, which is possibly a half mile or so from the elementary school.
“No, we’ll be taking a bus.”
I told Mrs. So-and-so about the time when my son was in kindergarten and they had walked on their field trip to a local destination. And because they would be going right by our house, I put balloons on our front door. When my son had come home that day, he told me he had been embarrassed. “It was the worst day of my life!” (Since then he’s had many more worst days.)
Mrs. So-and-so suggested maybe I could stand outside and wave at the bus.
I told her I thought that would be embarrassing, too. I gathered that the intersection of public and private was what was uncomfortable for my son.
The next morning I asked him if he put the signed permission slip in his folder. He said he did, and informed me that they were taking a bus. I told him I knew that, and it was too bad they weren’t walking (thinking these kids need to spend all the time outside that they can). He told me he thought they were taking the bus because it might rain.
I said, “Remember that field trip when you were in kindergarten, and I decorated the door, and you told me it was the worst day of your life?”
“I’m sorry if I embarrassed you.” At one time, this had been a very sore subject, something I couldn’t even bring up.
“No, mom, it was just the worst day of my life because we had to walk.”
Surely my son’s increased maturity and understanding led to his historical revisionism and thankfully, I no longer have to bear the burden of guilt of embarrassing him in front of his classmates. Glad I mentioned it!