Through 16 years of school I never once achieved perfect attendance. I could usually count on at least one good old fashioned cold to keep me home at least a day or two. I could always enhance the symptoms enough to get the sympathy vote. Alway loved that moment when mom would say the magic words; “OK, I’ll go make you some chamomile tea; you stay in bed and rest.” An hour later I’d be on the couch under 5 blankets watching Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers Neighborhood on a UHF channel eating a Snickers bar.
Sadly, the experience is one that my own kids may not never look back on with such fondness. For you see, today all three came home with Perfect Attendance Certificates. All three! It still amazes me that through the course of what was most likely one of the most difficult years we’ve ever experienced as a family, we somehow by the grace of God managed to get the kids to school every single day.
It got me thinking. I realize we do what we do out of the love of our children. But would it be so wrong for the parents to get some kind of an award for having the kids at their desk every single solitary school day? Would it hurt to receive a $10 gift card to Krispy Kreme or maybe an oil change? All of those mornings when at least one of the kids refused to get out of bed, the arguments over whether the chosen shorts were too, um, short, or the mornings one of them would try to get out of having to hand in a report that wasn’t finished. All of the lunches, getting them dressed, teeth brushed, shoes tied, the mad dashes to the bus, the days having to drive them because we missed said bus. Yet, we made it every time. Both their mom and I somehow managed to pull it off. So why does the kid get all of the praise? Seriously!
If you feel jilted, if you feel you deserve and award, I have just the thing for you. It’s your very own perfect attendance award. Print it … sign it, frame it and hang it on the wall. Let the world know that every morning at 6 a.m. you were the one the kids woke up to make breakfast. It was you who embarrassed the kids by standing out by the bus stop wearing your raggedy pj’s, your sweat stained baseball cap and a pair of flip flops … in the snow. You can click on the image for a printable version that’ll look great on the mantle or just hanging on the fridge long enough to make your kid’s eyes roll.
And don’t fret moms. There’s a version for you too. Hang it with pride. Let the kids know who really deserves the credit for making sure they had enough children’s Benadryl to get them through the day without anyone realizing they were contageous.
Maybe you didn’t get your very own version in school 20-30 years ago. But now’s your chance to make up for it. Live vicariously through your kids with your own award that lets the world know you were there. You may have been half asleep. Hell, you may not even remember most of the mornings, but you got them on the bus with or without a scarf.
O.K., being serious for a moment. It’s a lot of work being there day in and day out. If you’re fortunate enough to have a good relationship with your ex and you live close enough to each other to help each other out, there are a ton of benefits to be had from a positive relationship. Not the least of which is making sure your kids are prepared for school every day. And I don’t just mean getting there. There are the school supplies, ensuring one of you is there for every school event, every class performance, field trip, maybe lunch once in a while. Anything to let the kids know you’re there for them and that even though their mom and dad aren’t together anymore, that doesn’t mean they’re not going to get the love and support they should expect from their mom and dad.
Look, all kidding aside, it’s impossible to be a perfect mom or dad. But just being there is a great place to start. Usually that’s all the kid is looking for. To know you’re there. To know that you care and to know you’ll be there when they need you and some times even when they don’t. If there’s any certificate to strive for, it’s the lifetime perfect attendance award for just being there day after day.