Over the summer, while at the pool, I was having . . . a day. A day that was, well. Insane. The kids were a mess. Violet was in my head and pushing every.single.button I had. And then some. Sarah was whiny. (And if you haven't heard this child whine? Oh, sweet lord. She can make grown men give up their secrets.) John was throwing public tantrums that were making other mom's either smirk or nod in sympathy (I prefer sympathy, thankyouverymuch.) But it was a hot, gorgeous day. And I was not leaving the pool. I knew as soon as I loaded them up and headed for home they'd completely freak out. So I gritted my teeth and waited them out, knowing (praying) that soon they'd settle down and get into their routine of playing.
I saw a good friend of mine, Lori. Violet had just done something that had me sputtering with surprise and anger. I walked away. John was in a chair, in time out. Sarah was playing, thank you Lord. I saw Lori and bee-lined it for her. I grimaced and said something like, "Lori, take my children. Please. If you can only take one? Take Violet. Now. I don't care where. She's a hot mess. I'll totally give her to you." Lori laughed. An acquaintance with her laughed, Heather. I know Heather, in that I know she goes to the same pool as me, we say 'hi' every time we see each other, and she teaches at the school Violet attends. I've 'known' her for almost four years, so I didn't mind her hearing me say this. She laughed. I smiled.
Lori turned to her other friend, who I hadn't noticed, and said, "Kim, have you met Sarah? She teaches at Violet's school, too."
I froze. I looked over at this perfectly poised woman. She smiled and said, "Violet? I know Violet! And you're her mom? How lovely!"
Lovely. Yes. Exactly what I was thinking.
I nodded and asked, "Uhm, what grade do you teach?"
"Third grade. Violet could be in my class next year. That would be so nice."
Nice. Yes. So very nice. Because I'd just made a lovely first impression.
I nodded weakly, made a lame joke about how if Violet was in her class we'd have to forget about this little meeting, and she assured me that it was OK.
Because that's the impression you want your child's teacher to have of you: crazy eyes, panting and begging somebody to take your child away so you don't beat them. Totally the impression you want.
At open house night we looked at the student roster and found Violet's name, she had a teacher named Mrs. Jones (we'll call her). Violet jumped up and down, saying how nice Mrs. Jones was etc. Then Mrs. Jones came walking down the hall. A lovely blond woman, all poised and put together.
She saw me and her face lit up. She smiled and held out her hand.
"Kim! How wonderful to see you again! I do have Violet in my class this year. I'm so pleased."
I stared at her blankly.
Then it clicked. Oh. NO. Just . . . no.
She was Sarah. From the pool.
I took her hand, smiled and said, "Mrs. Jones. I'm sure I've never seen you before. It's lovely to meet you for the first time. Violet is thrilled to be in your class."
She smiled and laughed.
But we know. Oh, we know.