Grade reports came out a few weeks ago. Everyone was pleased with their quarterly accomplishments, plenty of As to be celebrated, but the real story was on the back page: absences and tardies. Despite our best efforts, and Jack's finely tuned internal clock, his alarm set to scream at the very hint of dawdle, we are racing each and everyday to be at school on time.
More alarming than the tardies was Mary's three unexcused absences which, in Chicago, means that she has no chance at getting into Michelle Obama's high school alma matter, or any other school not caught in crossfire. Chicago high schools are fiercely competitive and apparently will only accept children who are able to breeze through the entire run of the lower grades with nary an illness or doctor appointment or, heaven forbid, a vacation to take them away. Mary is not their girl.
We applaud her integrity and her unselfish pledge to bring home every single flu virus that makes it way through the first grade classroom. Her need to press her mouth to windows, examine and touch every surface in the school bathroom, embrace her classmates (and comfort those not feeling well), assures us that she will continue, and be successful in, her quest to make contact with every germ presented. We stand now at three bugs for Mary in six months of school; her numbers look good, she's going for a record this year and we are impressed. But that's our girl, the one who tackles everything head on, the one who gleefully hugs the kid with snot smeared across her face. Climb that tree? You bet! Run very fast to the corner? Yes she can! Be feverish and listless for at least nine days this school year? Count on Mary!
Someday that immune system will kick in; someday this rampant intake of every illness made available to her will cease, but not now, not my girl! Hurl on Mary, we stand with you, but not too close, not until you break 99 degrees.
Disclaimer, sick days are excused absences. Noted on her grade report was her mother's absent mind and continuing negligence in writing notes explaining her missed days. Woops.