This week elementary children all over the country celebrated 100 days of school. Teachers asked students to show them what 100 looks like by bringing in 100 of something. 100 is a big number and it’s a big task for a 5, 6 or 7-year old. They spend a lot of time preparing; thinking, plotting and reminding their parents to help them find, make or buy 100 of something to show off to their teachers and classmates. In some cases like the school I work at (and the one my kids went to up until the 5th grade) exhibits are set up showcasing the creative way students bring 100 to the classroom. Always excited to see what they come up with, this year’s exhibit met the bar with such items as 100 colorful ribbons hanging from a branch, 100 Cheerios strung together on a necklace string, 100 pieces of macaroni spelling out a child’s name, 100 different Hot Wheels cars, beautiful buttons and gorgeous gems to name a few. It brought back memories for me from when my kids were at this school. That evening when I was telling my now 6th grader about the exhibits, it brought back memories for her too.
Do you remember what you gave me to bring in for my 100th day in Kindergarten? She asked.
Um, y-e-a-h. I said, like a peacock fanning it’s plume. “In fact”, I went on, “I think I still have that Tupperware lid that says 100 Kisses on it. I couldn’t help by pause to give myself a little mental pat on the mother-of-the-year-award back for the clever pun of sending 100 Kisses into her class. Hershey Kisses of course!
Those were the days when all I ever thought about was how to be the best-est mother ev-ah! Lost in my moment of motherhood glory I almost missed the scowl on her face.
What? Was that not the best 100 Days ever? Come on, I said. 100 Hershey Kisses! How clever?
Um, Mom, I don’t mean to ruffle your (peacock pluming) feathers but that was not my 100 days. That was Noah’s.
Don’t you remember what you did for mine?
I thought I had. Confusion set in. She was right though, that was for Noah and I was drawing a blank. I’m lucky if I can remember where I set my car keys down when I come home from work these days. Surely it must’ve been great, if not greater than the Hershey Kisses I quickly convinced myself and then a vague, blurred memory began to clear in my head.
Yes, I remember. “Cupcakes! I made 100 cupcakes for the whole school!” I said, beaming.
Mom! I was 5, so excited and that morning you must have forgotten. When I asked you about it, you went to the cupboard and took out cupcake holders. You gave me cupcake holders! You told me ‘No other kid will have these.’
Now it was all coming back to me — like a bad dream.
“That wasn’t even the worst part”, she went on. “I brought them into class and when Susan (the teacher) saw them, she told me to count them.”
There was only 54!
Okay, cupcake holders for the 100th day of school are lame and math was never my forte. I guess I wasn’t the super-clever-mom my mind’s eye seemed to remember me to be either — that time.
What can I say? Parents try their best – always. Sometimes, we come up short.
Like, 46 cupcake holders short.
Do you have a coming-up-short parenting moment you can share?