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I picked up my son from his last day of first grade. I asked the typical “pick up” questions: How was your day, did you have fun, did you do anything special for the last day, etc. Then I made the mistake of asking, how was lunch? See, they were supposed to get a free lunch today courtesy of our school’s parent association. I distinctly remember filling out the form specifying whether the child wanted pizza or a hot dog. I distinctly remember asking the child if he wanted pizza or a hot dog. I distinctly remember the child saying, hot dog. I distinctly remember marking hot dog on the form, while the child watched over my shoulder to make sure I had checked the right box, and oh, don’t forget to mark the box for chips also. OK, so I think this is about as simple as forms get, and we aced it.

So, back to the question, how was lunch? Child starts crying and wails, “They gave me pizza but I wanted a hot dog”… in that 6-year-old voice of utter despair that draws out all of the vowels so it comes out like, “I WAAAANTEED AAAA HOHHHT DAAAWWWG.” So, I say, did you ask them to give you a hot dog instead, and he says, yes, but they wouldn’t listen. OK, now I’m angry. I don’t actually know if my son is assertive enough to tell the lunch lady that he really wanted a hot dog, or if he just took the pizza and then didn’t eat anything at all which made him extra cranky. But dammit, I filled out the fucking form, SO WHY DIDN’T HE GET HIS FUCKING HOT DOG??

Yes, I realize we are just talking about a hot dog here, and not something as devastating as say, not making the glee club, but seriously. It was all I could do not to start bawling myself because my little guy is distraught over some stupid mistake that in his world was the difference between having the Lego Death Star vs. Babysitter Barbie under the Christmas tree. So to try to make things all better, I took him to his favorite ice cream place, and I say brightly, oh let’s get ice cream and everything will be fine, and here’s a kleenex, blow your nose and cheer up. And he says, still whimpering, I just can’t take it anymore. A 6-year-old. Can’t take it. Because this shitty world screwed him out of a hot dog. I hear you buddy, I hear you.

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