Ebb and Flow

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 11, 2000

DEBORAH CORRAO / L’Observateur / February 11, 2000

The annual lunch for grandparents at Mimosa Park Elementary School may never be the same. When I took on full-time work I forgot I would not be able to be a part ofthis tradition with my granddaughter, Carley, a second-grader. I wasn’t ready forthe tears that would flow when I explained I would not be able to attend.

In an effort to find a stand-in I asked my mother – a great-grandmother is even better than a grandmother, right? Turns out she was having a very important garden club meeting that day and couldn’t promise she’d be able to get to the school in time for lunch.

I tried to explain to Carley that she wouldn’t be the only child without a grandparent in attendance. She didn’t care. I offered to call another student’s grandparent toadopt Carley for the day, but she wouldn’t hear of it.

I was at my wit’s end. It was time to resort to “my last resort” – Poppy.”We can ask Poppy,” I suggested, with more than a little fear and trepidation, hoping against hope that she would nix the suggestion.

Poppy is my husband, the man who never attended a school function for his own children. I felt reasonably safe in assuming her pleas would fall on deaf ears. Trueto form, he growled a “no” before we could even get out the whole question. Ifeigned disappointment, but I knew it would be better in the long run.

Unfortunately, a few short hours later he called me at work to say he had agreed to attend. Then, I was really scared. I was too far away to intervene, and he’dalready sent in his lunch money.

Poppy is not the kind of person you can trust in public without some behavior monitoring. I tried not to vocalize the inward groans that were struggling to escapethe tightness in my throat.

Memories of Carley’s last game of her first (and last) season of T-ball a couple of years ago. She wasn’t a great T-ball player. She was usually executing cartwheelsand finding clover patches during her time out in right field (that assignment made me feel relatively confident that her coach knew her stuff).

Carley’s one and only claim to fame that season was an accidental tip of the ball which landed it about 6 inches in front of the plate. “Run, Carley, run!” wescreamed from the sidelines. Before the opposing pitcher and catcher knew whatwas happening, we had coaxed her around the bases and home.

But I digress.

Poppy drove Carley to her last game. Arriving late, I noticed that my husband wasout in field with Carley, protecting her, he said, from getting hit by balls (as if there was even a chance of that happening).

In a rare moment of sympathy during his recovery from recent surgery, I invited him to accompany me to Carley’s gymnastics class. On the way home I got a sternlecture.

“You’ve got to tell that woman to stop fussing at Carley,” he demanded (the woman being her coach who had taken Carley to the national championships last summer), “or Carley will just have to quit gymnastics!” “I don’t want to quit!” Carley wailed.

Poppy is no longer allowed at the gym.

Today I also have to apologize to the ladies in the school lunchroom. Against mybetter judgment I called home the afternoon of the lunch to ask how it had gone.

“I told them I was glad I didn’t go to school there,” he said. “I couldn’t eat thatstuff.”I exchanged a few more unpleasantries with him before the piece de resistance.

“Oh, by the way, I had to sign Carley out of school,” he said. “She wouldn’t let meleave without her.”No more lunches for him. Next year, I’ll take a day off of work.Back to Top

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