“Hi Tommy!” I called out.
I was promptly ignored.
I should know better. We were In Public which means I Do Not Exist. He’s lucky I’m not one of those parents who shows up in pajama pants. I do have unkempt hair but it’s not my fault. My hair hates me no matter what I do to it.
I pulled out my camera, prepared to take pictures. I was at Tommy’s award assembly. He made the Honor Roll. No Perfect Attendance this time, which bothered Tommy. But really, he couldn’t have gone to school the one day he was absent. He was puking everywhere.
I took a picture of the back of Tommy’s head.
It remained that way the entire time I was there. Until he was called up on stage, that is. I remember when he was little how he'd light up when he saw me. "Mommy! Mommy! It's me! Tommy!" Now? I barely get a glance in my direction.
Tommy got his certificate, smiled briefly my way (probably so I'd stop hissing, "Tommy, over here!"), and then behaved as though I wasn’t there. (Yes, he does need a haircut. No, he won't let me get him one. Yes, I'm going to make him because he looks like a shaggy pants. I figure I buy his underwears, therefore, I get to tell him when he needs to get a hair cut.)
When the assembly was over, the teachers said the students could say hello to their parents real quick. Tommy didn’t look as though he was going to do this so I took matters into my own hands. I went over and tapped him on the shoulder.
“Good day,” I said brightly.
He gave me a forced smile. “Hi.” Gosh, his friends would be shocked to know that the night before he hugged me and said that he loved me very much.
“You did a great job. Congrats!” I continued.
This got a real smile from Tommy. “Thank you!”
“Well, I love you!” As soon as the words left my lips, I knew I had said the wrong thing. Apparently you can’t say that in public to a fifth grader. The color drained from Tommy’s face. His eyes flicked around the students by him checking to see if they heard. Weirdly, I suddenly wanted to shout, “Opah!” as a distraction, which is weird because A) we’re not Greek and B) that would have surely gotten attention and people would have been like ?
“Um, well, see you,” I said, trying to play it cool. Gosh, I’m awkward. I shouldn’t be like that with my own KID but now he’s older and there are unspoken rules that I just haven’t been able to grasp yet.
“Mmmhmm, see you,” Tommy mumbled.
I so wanted to give him a hug but that was Out Of The Question since we were still In Public. So I chucked him lightly on the shoulder, then worried his teachers might be like, “Abuse!”
He did give me a wave before I walked out though so I guess I was forgiven.
Until next time.