So last Thursday DJ graduated kindergarten. Having spent the weekend prior with me, he told me all about his line at the ceremony. It was “Now we have some poems we would like to share.” Even though he had the tubes put in his ears back in March and his speech had improved, well he still needed to go to therapy.
So Thursday morning I was up early. I got dressed, and in fact I got dressed in khakis with a button down shirt. I was pretty preppy looking if I do say so myself, an anti-thesis to my usual wardrobe of jeans and t-shirts. I went and met Pudding and Jen in front of the school. I was early after panicking about the possibility of being late from traffic, so I stood in the spot I usually dropped him off at and waited. They came and we had some conversations about stuff I really don’t remember… probably about the information about Blinky’s new bed since I had been obsessing over it recently having missed her communion.
So we went inside and found seats in the center. Not too far back so Pudding could see, and not too far forward so I wouldn’t block EVERYONE’s view. The classes filed in to Pomp and Circumstance, and he was one of the last ones in. For a reason unbeknownst to me at the time, he sat in the front row instead of on the stage with a few other classmates he had. He would look back and wave, and we would wave back. I had forgotten my own camera. I had left it with a pile of Scooby-Doo DVD’s I had ordered from Amazon for the occasion because I had panicked about possibly being late with morning rush hour traffic. So I had Puddings digital camera, and he did “cheese” a few times while the graduation commenced with singing, clapping, and the general whine of kindergarteners in unison.
Then, two boys got onto the stage and said, “Now we have some poems we would like to share.”, and I could see him mouthing the words, but he never left his seat. I was confused as was Pudding and Jen. My blood began to boil, and while I contemplated how to move through the row without causing permanent disability to anyone, well Pudding was already up and talking to his teacher. I don’t know what was said, but I have seen those eyes on her. She was pissed. She reached out and brought DJ back to the seats with her. I asked him why he wasn’t on the stage, and he shrugged. So he sat on his momma’s lap until the end when we decided we would just leave with him. Apparently his teacher had sidelined more than half the class because they had been “fooling around” earlier in the day. They’re kindergarteners for pete’s sake.
So we left. I held his hand and we skipped to the corner. Pudding and I took him to his choice for breakfast, McDonald’s. He wanted pancakes and eggs, which we got for him in celebration. He had graduated kindergarten, and he was proud that he knew his ABCs and could count to 50. I was proud of him too, for not only graduating but for not letting the nastiness of his teacher ruin his day. I was proud he had thick skin. I was proud he was my son.
When we were done at McDonald’s I drove them home. Pudding and I talked briefly about the upcoming weekend and a few other things like Blinky’s dance recital and the Professor’s perfect attendance breakfast. All end of the school year things that parents would talk about on the first day of summer. DJ of course had no interest in adult conversation, and he wanted to go, yet he was patient and didn’t whine. Finally when it was time to go he hugged me goodbye and went to get out of the truck, and I told him “I love you buddy,” and he stopped. He stopped, came back, hugged me, and kissed me goodbye and told me, “I love you.” before getting out of the truck with the cheesey smile on his face.
That was the last time he would be able to do so.
I wonder if somehow he knew.