I have the day off from work every other Friday. It is my one day during the week to do mom things: schlep kids to doctor appointments, attend an all-school meeting, pick up kids from school.
Last Friday was the first Friday in three years that I got to do mom things for Luca. Franny was still on winter break, so she and I went to the library to pick up a book for a school project, then swung by Subway for lunch.
Walking through the parking lot back to our car, Franny noticed this leaf.
We stopped to admire it, then got in the car and drove to Luca’s new school to pick him up. He plopped in the passenger seat and set his backpack by his feet.
I asked the perennial parent question.
“How was achool?”
His eyes are almost completely covered up by his Bieber cut, the cut that drives me crazy. So all I could make out was his smile.
“Good,” he said.
Then we drove out of the parking lot, and made our way home.
* * *
I took him to a basketball game that night. His school team is Number 5 in the state and tromped the other team. I was impressed by the amount of color in the student body: not just the basketball players’ but also the girls in the bleachers, all of whom were already friendly with Luca.
The other team, by comparison, was mostly white. That school is a bells-and-whistles school, populated by uber-wealthy families, and has a reputation for being snooty. A completely childish, but victorious smile crossed my face as I imagined how devastated Prince must be that the fruit of his elitist loins attends a school with what I know he feels are substandard networking opportunities.
Luca is a budding photographer and spent most of the game on the sidelines, snapping pictures for his journalism class.
He had wanted me to drop him off with his new friends, but I told him I was going to be there to supervise. I promised I wouldn’t sit near him since he is in the phase where being seen with his mother is thoroughly embarrassing. Before boarding school, this limit-setting would have ignited hours of screaming and wall-kicking. But this time we made it through with only a modicum of teenage grumbling.
I sat next to a school mother who also happens to work in the administrative office. She told me she’d seen Luca hanging out with kids during the week, and he seemed to be fitting in just fine.
A father of a boy that Luca had gone to elementary school with approached me. I hadn’t seen him in years and I was tickled to note that he looked much older than I. His kid was playing for the other team. I pointed out Luca on the sidelines, taking pictures.
The parent knew Luca when he was a terror, during the years when I cringed every time the phone rang midday, and prayed that it wasn’t another call from the Director’s Secretary “inviting” me to come in to talk about some “concerns” with Luca.
“How’s he doing?” the dad asked.
I smiled, and said something I hadn’t been able to say in years.
“He’s doing great.”
Today, I’m thankful for every other Friday.