Maybe Next Time
Quinlan came out of school on Thursday–the last day before a four-day Labor Day holiday weekend–clutching a white-and-pink stuffed bear to her chest. “It’s Mr. Sprinkles!” she exclaimed, and presented him to me. She was smiling, a huge grin playing across her freckled cheeks. “I got to take him home for the weekend! I have a journal and get to write down everything we do together!”Mr. Sprinkles: the beloved class pet. The stuffed animal every child waits anxiously to take home, to show around, to have adventures with and take photos of and share stories about with all of their classmates the next week. It was on.So this is what we did this long weekend:
Friday, we went to Hershey Gardens. We spent a solid hour or so in the new Butterfly Atrium, ooh-ing and ahh-ing at exotic butterflies and indoor water features and tropical plants. The kids played hide-and-seek in a maze with my mom and put on a show for us at the amphitheater and hopped over bridges in a Japanese garden and ran up and down rows of roses. We met their father for dinner at a restaurant housed in an old mill, next to railway tracks on which a train goes roaring by every 15 minutes (this is a good thing). We decided it was early enough(ish), so we ducked next door to Hersheypark and rode roller coasters (Comet! Great Bear!) and rides until way past their bedtime. It was a day.
Saturday, the kids played at home in the morning and helped me bake and we spent the evening at our friends’ home. There were hamburgers and hot dogs and s’mores and and a campfire. The kids ran around and played and laughed until way, way too late. They went to bed with grubby feet and messy hair and it was awesome.
Sunday: a trip to Gettysburg to visit family. More s’mores. More campfire. That marshmallow stuff my aunt makes. The Notre Dame season opener on the TV, though they lost to Texas in double overtime and I don’t want to talk about that part. Other than that, it was lovely.
Monday: Labor Day, y’all. These kids played and played and played, and then David’s mom and her husband came to visit and they played and played and played, and then my mom came over too and there was more cooking out and more of that leftover marshmallow stuff my aunt makes and the kids went to bed again a little too late for a school night and with grubby feet that were somehow grubby even though they’d just gotten a bath. It was good.And this morning: This morning my children woke up (sort of. I had to pry Quinlan out of bed and into her uniform. Debated using tape to keep her eyelids up) and came downstairs and I realized something: the weekend was so fun I forgot to go through their school folders. The weekend was so fun I forgot to sign papers and go over homework and empty snack boxes. This weekend SO FUN……that I forgot all about Mr. Sprinkles. We didn’t include him on one trip. He does not appear in one photograph I took all weekend. It’s like he didn’t exist…at all. I found him in the bottom of Quinlan’s backpack. I muttered an apology to this inanimate creature, and we completed Quinlan’s Mr. Sprinkles journal anyway. She insisted on being completely honest, much to my dismay and not-so-subtle encouraging (peer pressuring, whatever): if Mr. Sprinkles wasn’t with her, it didn’t happen. So in her journal is a photo of Quinlan holding Mr. Sprinkles. Her teacher won’t have to look closely to see that in the picture, Quinlan is wearing a fresh uniform, and in her hair is the exact same headband she wore to school today…because that’s when I took the picture. To add to the embarrassment, this is what Quinlan’s journal–the journal that will go to each home for ALL OF THE PARENTS to read, the one that went to her teacher and the teacher’s aid and my eternal guilt–entry looks like for the 2nd weekend of school:
What I wrote: We had a great time with Mrs. Sprinkles this weekend! He had SO MUCH FUN with our family!
What Quinlan wrote:
* We watched TV.
* Family visit.
* I lost my tooth.
Nothing was said about Hershey Gardens and Hersheypark and butterflies and roaring trains. There is absolutely no documentation of family and friends and campfires and s’mores. No word about playing with toy horses and putting on shows and hide-and-seek in the maze. Nothing.Because Mr. Sprinkles missed it all.