“Daddy! My glasses!”
We were already three quarters of the way to school when the thought popped into Erin’s head. There was no way I was going to turn around and go home just for a pair of movie theater 3-D glasses.
But it was Wednesday, and Wednesday is “Share Day” in Erin’s class. We use the Share Day carrot as a way to keep Erin moving on Wednesday mornings: “Okay, it’s time to get dressed/eat breakfast/brush your hair. We have to hurry so we can get to Share Day.” Forgetting to bring the very item she had been promised she could bring was a small betrayal.
“I’m sorry, baby. We forgot your glasses at home. We’re too far away now to go back.”
“But I need my glasses!”
In her world the most important thing is being included. Whether you are shunned for failing to bring an item for Share Day or not, the feeling is that participating is what is normal, and not participating will get you noticed in a bad way.
I suppose I could have taken a grand social stand at this point, and used it as an opportunity to lay the foundation for a future attitude of not caring what other people think. That’s a popular way to approach juvenile problems, but it’s also a bit of a sour grapes attitude, and I’m not sure how I feel about that approach. I’d hoped to not have to face it for ten more years. Apparently I was wrong to hope.
This morning I chose not to pick a fight that I hadn’t yet chosen a side for.
“Here. You can have my sunglasses for Share Day.”
Erin took them from my hand, looked at them for a while, then put them on her face. “Can I keep them, daddy?”
I sighed inwardly. I should have expected that question.
“Sure, babe. You can keep them.”
They were too tight anyway.