Grandparents’ Day At School Left Me In Tears


Last Friday was Grandparents’ Day at Skippy’s school. While it would be his first time on stage, it would also be my first time as a grandparent — at least in this capacity. And, as per usual when thrust into new situations, I made a complete idiot of myself.

The morning started off with Mark and I driving Skippy to school, dropping him at his classroom and making our way to the auditorium.

It was already packed with a bunch of us “gray panthers,” but we managed to get good seats nonetheless as the seas parted to let us in. No one knows the importance of a stage show like grandparents, and no one wanted anyone to miss a moment.

Skippy’s class of 3-year-olds was up first, not so much because they’re cute, but because a 3-year-old doesn’t know the meaning of the word “wait,” and most were just recently out of diapers. Nobody wanted an accident up there.

His little class of 12 solemnly filed in, each participant looking at either a) us or b) his or her shoes. I had no reason to doubt that Skippy would see us, because I told him beforehand that, even if we were hard to find, we would wave.

How silly of me. There were at least 24 people in the audience all waving frantically. I squelched the urge to pop out of my seat, swaying side to side, and hollering at the top of my lungs, “Skippy! Over here!” After all, the glare of the footlights was in his eyes.

The kids then sang “This Little Light of Mine,” and I was happy to see that the Skipster was the only one who remembered that hand motions went with it. Not that he was enthusiastic about it. He was, well, compliant. Dutifully compliant kids always make me kind of sad, but then I remembered how non-compliant he usually is around the house. He doesn’t exactly suffer from a crushed spirit. So a little compliance was a good thing.

The song complete, the kids shuffled off (helped by no less than four people) and went to their just reward — cookies and juice in their classroom. They would return for a final bow after the fifth-graders’ rendition of “When I’m 64,” which made me sad because poor John Lennon never made it to 64.

So between the cuteness of the kids, the loss of 3-year-old spontaneity and the murder of musical genius John Lennon, I was a blubbering mess by the end of the show. And, lest you think I was adorably sniffling into an embroidered handkerchief, let me set you straight. No. I was the kind of mess where I had to walk directly behind Mark with my head down so nobody would see me. Of course, I had not brought tissues to this happy occasion. Luckily, on the way to the grandparents’ just reward (coffee and danishes in the hallway), we passed the main office, and there was a box of tissues on the counter, which I ravaged without regret, raising a few eyebrows.

“Get a few for me,” Mark mumbled, because he is the lovable type of manly man who is not above getting choked up when little children pour their hearts out theatrically.

After our danish, we were allowed to visit Skippy’s classroom, where he was busily applying stickers to a cardboard picture frame that would soon house a photograph of him and his red-faced, weepy grandparents. Yippee.

I told him how proud I was of his performance and, when he ran outside to play with trucks, I was able to gather my wits about me. When I saw him trip on the edge of the sandbox and howl because he landed on his already-bandaged finger, I knew everything was back to normal. He was just a kid again.