Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lessons Learned

    mortified is a form of:
    verb /ˈmôrtəˌfī/ 
    mortified, past participle; mortified, past tense; mortifies, 3rd person singular present; mortifying, present participle

    1. Cause (someone) to feel embarrassed, ashamed, or humiliated\
      • - she was mortified to see her wrinkles in the mirror
      • - she refused to accept this mortifying disgrace
    2. Subdue (the body or its needs and desires) by self-denial or discipline
      • - return to heaven by mortifying the flesh
    3. (of flesh) Be affected by gangrene or necrosis
      • - the cut in Henry's arm had mortified
    4. Stephen F. Shaw, Greensboro, NC at 7:32am on September 28, 2011
      • - "Stephen's facial expression was the very definition of mortified"

    It was just like any other normal day, when I strolled into the Moses Cone Hospital daycare Wednesday morning to drop the kids off. This week in Jack's class, the theme is "camping" - which is good for several reasons, chief among them being that we are already planning to go camping this weekend and Jack can't stop talking about it form the time he gets out of bed in the morning to the time we read his "Camping Book 17 times before he goes to bed each night. So when the school calendar came home last week with Camping penciled in for this week, I knew we were in for a treat. 

Monday, the whiteboard outside his class requested that if any parent had a tent at home, would they please bring it to school so that the kids could more realistically conduct their camping play. Being the wonderful father that I am, I quickly recognized that this was a unique opportunity to participate and perhaps to make up for never really having brought a prop or other show and tell item to school despite frequent requests. Delinquent Dad, I am sure you are thinking - but this was my chance to really redeem myself in the eyes of Miss Joy and Miss Angela.

When I picked Jack up yesterday, he was talk talk talk about camping and the tent and we napped inside daddy - in the tent! Miss Angela sweetly handed him off and thanked me so much for bringing the tent, that the teachers got it set up just fine and the kids really enjoyed it. I was worried after I dropped it off that morning that maybe I should have set it up for them, and that perhaps they wouldn't be able to get it pitched and Jack would be disappointed and ridiculed for having the dumb father who brought a tent but didn't have the good graces to set it up for the poor children, so it languished in a cubby until 5 o'clock. However, this was not the case, and the kids had fun.

So much fun, in fact, that I decided to leave the tent at school on Tuesday night so they could play with it again on Wednesday. When I walked in this morning and dropped Jack off at his classroom, I mentioned to Miss Joy that I had left the tent in place and they were welcome to use it again if they wanted. In retrospect, the big grin that lit up her face at that point must have been hard for her to contain, but she walked over and in a somewhat softened tone asked if Angela had told me about the tent. Yes, I said, she said you got it set up all right and the kids enjoyed it. The grinning was even more pronounced at this point and I started to get nervous. No, she said, did she tell you what she found in it? And then I just squeaked out a pitiful What do you mean?

Joy continued: Well, when she got it set up, Angela crawled inside before we let the kids in to check out the inside. And when she came out she had a funny look on her face, and had stuffed something into her pocket, and she said Good thing the kids didn't find that first.

Oh my god. I am sure I am beet red at this point, although I am trying to stay calm. I am positive by now that she did not find the wrapper to a Clif Bar, or a book of matches, some other innocuous piece of trash. Joy is almost laughing so hard now that she can't even pronounce the word, although I am sure it started with a hard C. I am mumbling through apologies and remarks like Gosh, its been 4 years since I used that tent, how could that have happened. I mean, we have two kids, so how they came to be is somewhat obvious. I just wish the ancillary activities didn't have to be rehashed in quite this detail.

Joy is similarly beside herself right now, although more from the entertaining enjoyment that must characterize a revealing moment like this, and the irony that is present in the knowledge that this morsel of parent news has probably already spread among the entire daycare staff.


1 comment:

Heather said...

my god. this is classic. I could not love it more (even if it is at the sake of your mortification, Stephen, I just can't stop enjoying this written moment).