My co-worker scurried toward her desk, eyes red and puffy. I walked over and asked her what was wrong.
“I’m sure he will be fine,” she said, her voice cracking. “It’s just. My son. He...” She began sobbing uncontrollably. I looked on, concerned, afraid to ask the follow-up question: What was wrong with her son? Was he hurt? Was he diagnosed with some horrific disease? Did his dad win full custody and take a job in New Zealand? What had happened to cause my co-worker’s agonizing pain?
“My baby, he, he...” She gulped down her tears. “He started kindergarten.”
I laughed and rolled back on my heels in relief, but I was alone in this sentiment. Other moms who had heard our crying co-worker came running over to offer comfort and share stories of their first-day traumas.
As I watched wrinkles of pain find their old, familiar places on the foreheads of my co-workers while they recounted tales of their now adult children’s first day of school, one thing became perfectly clear: I’m not doing it!
Nope. No way. No how. My kid is not going to kindergarten. He’s not going to school the following year, either. My heart can’t take it.
Not that I’d withhold my son’s education just for my own emotional stability. Pulling him from school will be for his benefit, of course. If the moms are crying messes dropping off their kids at kindergarten, just imagine the waterfall of woe their tykes must be. Is learning the three R’s really worth the turmoil?
I mean, who needs school anyway? When did it become so important? Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were school dropouts, and they became two of the most influential billionaires in the world. If my son never steps foot in a classroom, just imagine how brilliant he will be!
Unfortunately, I can’t afford to quit my job and home-school my child, so he will have to come to work with me. But that’s fine. I just know he will find Excel sheets as riveting as I do. And what better way to learn to count than by clicking the end of a pen for eight hours a day? Doesn’t that sound like fun? If he counts one click for every second of the workday, he will count all the way up to 28,800! Is my kid a genius or what? He can learn his letters using the label-maker every day to mark my food in the company fridge.
As an added educational bonus, the signs outside every door in my building have Braille.
Find me a public school teaching that to kids. When teachers encourage study-abroad immersion programs to learn another language, I’m pretty sure this is exactly what they have in mind.
Now, there may be some setbacks to my son’s education-free existence, but I feel the 24-hour access to his mama more than makes up for it. He may never experience a cafeteria-wide food fight, but my office has vending machines with microwaveable burritos that are changed out monthly. So really, who has the better deal? And though my company doesn’t have recess with playgrounds and sandboxes, we do have nice wooden benches with conveniently placed ashtrays to play in. And though it’s true that by skipping school my son may never learn to read, I’m confident that with his company-funded cellphone, Siri will ensure he never has to.
Obviously, I’m onto something here. If I weren’t, then why would we have Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day? And the government supports my initiative to ditch the classroom for the office. Here’s proof: President Obama not only works in the White House but also makes his kids live in the White House! Talk about helicopter parenting. That guy has issues.
I was about to email human resources regarding our policy on bringing children to work, when my crying co-worker said, “I guess it’s just hard for parents. Not the kids. My son was thrilled to be there. It’s a milestone we parents have to go through.”
I broke through the crowd of reminiscing mothers to ask, “Your kid was happy to be at kindergarten? He wasn’t scared? Or crying?”
“No,” she said. “Only the parents had tears.”
If our kids want an education, I guess we have to give it to them. Good luck out there, parents. Stay strong.
Like Katiedid Langrock on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/katiedidhumor. Check out her column at http://didionsbible.com.