Channeling Spirit

It’s school spirit week at my son’s elementary school. Woo-hoo and all that. I remember spirit week from my school days. My personal favorite was mismatched shoes day.  I enjoyed it so much that I kept continued the practice. Until my mom refused to go anywhere with me. Correction. Until my mom refused to take me anywhere. I was fourteen and it wasn’t exactly legal for me to drive myself. The bitterness still rankles. I’d have turned out better, I think, had I been allowed to wear one Nike and one Ked.

I will not hinder my son’s self-expression. At least not at the age of nine. And unless it’s a rat-tail. Therefore, I allow, nay, I encourage his participation in Spirit Week. With the new millennium has dawned whole new ways to show your school spirit. We have a list, everything from inside-out day (wear your clothes inside out. If you’re a rebel like my son, that means underwear, too) to hat day. For the latter, he plans to wear his coonskin cap. It’s too small for his over-sized cranium, and it’s the exact color of his real hair, lending the impression he has grown a second head of hair. With a rat tail.

The spirity day I am least comfortable with is Pajama Day. Wearing my pajamas to school is just shy of showing up to school wearing only my underwear. Perhaps that particular nightmare has been retired from the Hall of Dreams, so kids today don’t bat an eye at showing up in their Power Rangers flannels. Or am I the only one that ever had that dream? It makes my son happy that on one day a year he doesn’t have to bother getting dressed, so I let him.

No school will ever hold a spirit week like the one my son used to attend. We waited all year for the announcement of our particular favorite, making plans for how to outdo last year. . And then my son came home and declared “Tomorrow is crazy hair day!” I think I heard an angel sing. And we set to work.

We all got up extra early. My daughter took the lead in decorating her brother that year, and she outdid herself. She gelled and twisted and twirled her brother into the most awesome coiffure ever seen on Crazy Hair Day. A thing of beauty. Edward Scissorhands meets Darth Maul. A prize winner, no doubt. That ‘do defied the laws of gravity.

The best Crazy Hair in the history of the event

It was with great pride that I let my son out of the car and watched him saunter up the walk, taking in all the admiring glances from his pals.  Pride goeth before a fall and stuff. I took a brief look around to check out the ‘dos his classmates were sporting, and I was mildly surprised that the principal wasn’t participating this year. And guess what else? No one else seemed to be participating, either. I felt the blood drain from my face as the realization hit me. I had sent my child to school looking like a pin cushion on Team Jersey Day.

I am still waiting on my Mother of the Year trophy for that particular blunder. I believe they should change the name of the event to “Restless Spirit Week.” It still haunts me.


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