The Poisoned Ink Well

Saturday, January 24, 2004

No Child Left Behind

I dropped my son off at a party tonight. It looked like fun, somebody’s barn away from the main house down a dirt road way out in the country with lots of lights and laughter and loud music. It was his friend’s birthday. I asked him if he would call me, if he needed to leave, or had to leave, or if the cops showed up, and please don’t get in the car with anyone drunk, because I was hanging out at home and not doing anything in particular and would be happy to get him.

He called me about 4:30 this morning and I slurped down some coffee and jumped in car; he was waiting at the rusted gate in front of the old farmhouse with a big smile, and sleepy, happy eyes, and he climbed in the car and we sped away. He said thanks, Mom and I told him that this is the moment that parents live for. I drove him home and made him breakfast and he went to sleep (all in one piece) and I put on a pot of coffee and started reading Litkicks.

I remember when I was his age. I spent my 16th birthday in the French Quarter in New Orleans drinking hurricanes with a gorgeous oilrig worker that I was dating. I still have the picture. My parents were probably at a party somewhere, maybe in New Orleans, maybe somewhere else (they usually were) and I didn't even live at home most of the time, so who knows.

They say, as you get older that you become more like your parents, but I don't know that I could keep up with them.

My son and his friends are the kids left behind, left out, pushed out, unable to fit in those proverbial round holes, they are the ones pushed from school to school until home is the only place left for them; bright, smart, articulate, politically aware and literate, computer savvy, and hopelessly devoted to their music, play station games, and the real world; I marvel at their determination and I remember what it was like to be like them and I try to help and get everyone on the right track with ACT preps, student aid info, (I want them all to go to college) encouragement and being there for them, and mostly that means staying sober, so I can sort out the difficulties that arise. They won’t be prom queens or football stars or valedictorians, no one’s offering them any Ivy League scholarships, (they won't even let them stay in school) but they are so much a part of the future that I refuse to allow any of them to be marginalized.