(That’s not a picture of my kid.)
My son’s last day of school was today, or at least his last couple of hours of school were today, and I’ve entered that liminal couple of months where I’m no longer the parent of a kindergartner but not quite the parent of a first grader yet. They had a little program to mark the end of the year; it started at 8:30, each class sang a song or two, and they were done by probably 9:15, at which point everyone was dismissed to go home. My kid’s school, thankfully, does not put up with any sort of “graduation” nonsense for kindergarten children. No one’s names were called, no certificates were handed out, and there was no walking across stages. No caps and gowns, either. Classes come up, classes sing songs, classes go away, and I continue to be amazed at the outstanding lack of classroom presence possessed by the music director, who “runs” each of those things and who cannot quiet down a room of humans to save her bloody life.
I still don’t feel like I fit in at this place. Granted, today is my day off and most of the folks there probably went to work after the presentation, but I was literally the only parent in the room in a t-shirt and jeans. And large groups of white people tend to make me nervous, especially large groups of white people who visibly make more money than me. I spent half the concert on edge, waiting for someone to insist on speaking to my manager. That type of crowd.
One definite plus: as a first grader, my son moves to a different division of the school next year. This means that today was probably the last time I have to listen to three- and four-year-olds trying to sing and play instruments and try to keep a straight face. I mean, I guess in theory I might live long enough to have grandchildren? But he’s six, so… the last time for at least a couple of decades, I hope? Sure.
I caught myself musing about escape routes as the program dragged on, and realized with a jolt that I was genuinely sitting there and thinking about what the best thing to do would be if someone with a gun came in– if it’s from that door, I grab the boy and try to get out of this door, but if it’s from this door, the one next to me, I’m probably fucked and the best thing is probably to do my best impression of a guided missile and see just how hard my 300-pound ass can hit someone with a running start from a chair fifteen feet away. I was probably thirty seconds into it before I realized what I was doing, and then my head was fucked up for the rest of the morning. This is a wealthy, mostly white school, see; it’s those schools that tend to produce the school shooters. Not once while I was working in urban public schools did I ever catch myself doing this sort of calculus.
One of the more recent school shootings caught me where I live. The Noblesville shooting didn’t raise a ton of press outside of Indiana because no one was killed, but I know kids who go to that school. I spent a weekend at the booth next to them at Starbase Indy a couple of years ago, and their mom and I are still connected on Instagram and Facebook. Mom posted yesterday that her youngest had only just then decided she felt safe to go back to school.
I shouldn’t have to think about this shit. But Americans have to have their fucking toys, don’t they? Because freedom, or something.
Bah. I’m taking the boy to Dairy Queen and trying to get out of this fucking mood.