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School days put Mom in a dither

Tracy Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis is a humorist, writer and speaker. She writes family humor for the Charlotte Observer. Her column appears each Sunday.

My son starts a new school tomorrow. And I don't want to be that mother that frets all day, worrying that maybe they forgot to tell him where the boys' room is.

I'm just going to send him off, and hope he likes his teacher. And that she likes him. And that she likes me and that I like her and that she gives me her phone number and her e-mail address.

Hopefully, he'll know someone in his class. But if not, he'll be all right, he can make new friends. He'll probably tell his favorite knock-knock joke that uses his name:

“Knock Knock.”

“Who's there?”


“Matthew who?”

“Matthew a silly question?”

Wait a minute. That's not good. That's gonna land him in speech therapy in his first week. Maybe save that joke for week two. Or for lunchtime when the teacher's not around.

I hope he has someone to sit with at lunch. I really hope he doesn't drop his tray. Kids are so mean they'll probably start calling him Tray. My husband got nicknamed in college and his buddies have been calling him Cheese for 20 years.

Great – my family will be a Cheese Tray.

I hope his book bag is the right size and isn't too heavy. I hope brown paper bags aren't cool again, because I got him the matching lunch box that clips to his backpack. Very practical, but practical is hardly ever cool. And rarely fits into a locker.

I hope his classes are challenging, but not too hard. I hope they have great science, because he loves experiments. Maybe there'll be a science fair. Maybe he could win a ribbon, maybe even get first place. And then when the ACC basketball announcers are talking about him at halftime, they can comment on all the science fairs he won as a kid.

But what if school's too challenging? What if he hates going there? What if being called Tray gets the best of him and he decides it's better to be in the wrong crowd than in no crowd at all?

What if he starts pining over the cute girl with the ponytail and doesn't hear a word the teacher says? What if he doesn't believe me when I tell him she's not the only girl in the world? What if I have to tell him now, what I was saving for later, that he's not even allowed to get married until he's 30?

What if he tells me school just isn't for him? That it worked out for Thomas Edison and the Wright brothers, and he's gonna go out there and invent something to make the world a better place. Do I support him, or tell him to get back on that school bus?

Wait a minute. I'm getting way ahead of myself. It's gonna be fine. He'll go tomorrow, he'll find his way, and it'll be OK.

Besides … it's only kindergarten.

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