Thing One woke up early on Thursday morning, which was no surprise. I stumbled out of my room for more coffee, and found him laying on the couch with his Spelling Bee word list.
Thing One: Mom? Can I write a few of these down? I’m still not sure about some of them.
Me: Sure, baby. Let’s go through them. I’ll put a dot by the ones you’re nervous about.
All week we attacked that list, taking it a column at a time, going over and over and over the words. Repeating, writing, using them in a sentence.
Thing One: Sandal. S-A-N-D-E-L. Sandal.
Me: Sandal is like sand-all.
Thing One: S-A-N-D-A-L-L?
Me: Well, except with just one L.
When it came time to get ready for school, I didn’t bug him about what to wear. Even though I knew he’d be surrounded by kids in church clothes dressed up for a special occasion, I let him wear what he was comfortable in. He’s a jeans and tee shirt kid.
We had bagels and cream cheese for breakfast.
We loaded into the car.
We got about half a mile from school, and then finally the question came.
Thing One: Mom? Could I just get the first word wrong on purpose so that I can sit down? YOU already know I can spell all those words.
Me: I do know. And Daddy knows. And you know. And no matter what you decide to do, you’ve already done the part that makes us proud. You never gave up. You worked hard all week.
I sent him on to his classroom, and I went into the auditorium. I immediately found the head bee person and asked what the status was on alternates. Turns out no alternates would be spelling that day – all of the top two finishers were present and accounted for.
As soon as Thing One filed into the room with the other alternates I couldsee the relief on his entire body. He was smiling and joking with a friend and was appropriately embarrassed that I was trying to snap pictures.
He never once said all the work this week was a waste of time.
And when the bee got underway, I watched my grown up, wonderful, amazing Thing One spell all the words under his breath. He knew every one.
I think I was the proudest mom in the school.
Today, my Thing One turns eight. We’ll go to his basketball game and then his friend will come over to play and spend the night. We’ll play the Wii and eat tacos and of course as soon as he wakes up I’ll offer him ice cream for breakfast. It’s what we do on birthdays.
And I had to resist the urge to go over the top on his birthday presents this year, because I was just so proud of how he handled the week. I wanted to get him all the things on his list, right down to the x-ray machine.
Happy Birthday, Thing One. Your mama loves you.