“And just remember to look people in the eye when they talk to you,” I reminded my son Tommy as he got ready to leave for his first day of third grade.
“I know, Mommy. Geez,” Tommy said, rolling his eyes.
He’s been geez-ing me a lot lately.
It is true that he sometimes forgets to make eye contact though. He once had an entire conversation with someone while staring at the grass. He has Aspergers and eye contact can be difficult for him.
“If you need help with anything, just raise your hand,” I continued. Tommy sometimes can get frustrated while doing seatwork and he doesn’t always like to ask for help. So then he sits there near tears, frustrated and not wanting to finish his work.
“Geez, I know!” There was the g-word again.
“I’m going to miss you,” I said, handing over his backpack. He picked out a Bakugan backpack. I don’t get Bakugans and I don’t like how they cost $8 for one.
Tommy didn’t respond. Hello? Are you going to miss me too, son? I only gave you life.
“Yeah, I’ll miss you,” Tommy said, almost as an afterthought.
“Want to take pictures?” I wondered. He really has to be in the mood for photos. If he’s not he just stands there sulking going, “Geez!”
“Sure.” Tommy shrugged. “But not too many. I don’t want to miss my bus.”
Yeah, I don’t drive him to school. I think it’s important for kids to learn to ride public transportation. And also, because I’m not in the mood to wait in the drop off line.
“Were you okay with your breakfast? Should I have made you eggs or something?” I asked as I grabbed the camera. A lot of my Facebook friends were talking about elaborate breakfasts they had made their children on the first day of school. One woman had made her kids a smiley face pancake, complete with fresh fruit and homemade whipped cream. (!)
I made Toaster Strudels for Tommy. But hey, I squeezed the frosting into the shape of a smiley face at least.
“Breakfast was fine,” Tommy answered.
I took some pictures.
Tommy is sporting jeans from Wrangler, a shirt he had to have (“really Tommy, you want to wear a shirt with skulls on it for your first day of school?”), and Transformer shoes that I found for 75% off at Target.
He’s also sporting a Bakugan backpack. He insisted I show you all. It’s apparently a very big deal.
“Okay, enough, I have to go.”
So I grasped him by the shoulders and looked him in the eye and said, “I hope you have a fantastic first day. I remember back when I started third grade and—”
“I have to go,” Tommy cut in. He’s really anal about not being late for things.
“Okay, Tommy. I love you.” I pressed a kiss on his head.
“I love you, too,” Tommy said, rushed.
And then he ran off, probably worried that I’d try to talk to him some more.
As I watched him go, that song that Meryl Streep sings in Mamma Mia filtered through my mind. You know, the song Slipping Through My Fingers? I mean, I know it pertains to her daughter in the film, but still.
I’d like to say that he turned around and gave me one final wave.
He was off and ready to start his first day of third grade.