I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
April 9, 2010
This column originally appeared in the Nashville Scene.
On the morning of my daughter’s kindergarten Easter party, I hurried down the hall to her classroom, a giddy smile on my face.
I had packed 20 carefully stuffed Easter eggs, as well as snacks for the class. I’d found time to put on a festive spring dress and sparkly sandals.
Lindsay, I thought smugly, You’re finally getting this mom thing down. But when I arrived at the classroom, the grin abruptly disappeared from my face.
What the … Were those … Easter baskets the girls were carrying? The teacher had said nothing about bringing baskets to school. But somehow, the other parents had known to send them.
Once again, I hadn’t gotten the memo.
I’ve never been able to figure out exactly how these secret parent memos are distributed. Sometimes, I suspect there’s a secret email list. Other days, I’m sure the memos are conveyed through some form of telepathy that I simply don’t possess. For six long years, I’ve been unable to intercept the memos and read their contents — and my daughter ends up paying the price.
“Mommy? Why do you always send a towel for me to lie on during rest time?” she asked a few months ago.
“Because the teacher told us to,” I said. “She said mats would take up too much space.”
“But everyone else has a blanket,” Punky said.
My heartbeat quickened. A blanket? In my mind’s eye, I pictured a figure shrouded in darkness, laughing cruelly and clacking away on a Macbook Pro.
TO: KINDERGARTEN PARENTS
DATE: OCTOBER 27, 2009
SUBJECT: REST TOWELS
Due to teachers’ requests that parents refrain from buying rest mats for this year’s kindergartners, our board has decided we will buy plush travel blankets for our children’s rest time instead of the towels referenced in the back-to-school instructions. This will send a clear message that we cherish our children far more than those outside our group, who send ratty old bath towels for their children to sleep on and write hateful newspaper columns about Moms’ Clubs.
“Punky,” I said grimly. “Today, I’m going to buy you the softest, comfiest blanket any kindergartner has ever seen.”
“Good,” she said. “Because I was kinda embarrassed about the towel.” Her words felt like tiny daggers in my heart. Damn those memos.
After watching my poor daughter collect her Easter eggs in a plastic grocery bag, I went home and called Patsy, the local Donna Reed of kindergarten moms.
“I just don’t understand,” I said. “All of the girls had Easter baskets. How did everyone know?”
“Well,” she said, “I looked at that sheet the teacher sent and it said nothing about baskets.”
“Exactly!” I shrieked.
“But I thought to myself,” she continued, “I will bring one for Harper, just in case.”
“OK, OK,” I said. “Let’s talk Valentine’s Day. Mrs. Henderson told us to send 20 cards to school. That’s exactly what I did — and I get there and all the other parents had attached candy to their cards. How did you know to do that?”
“Actually,” she said, “they were doing that at Harper’s preschool last year, too. Oh wait a second. Mother’s Day Out, when Harper was a toddler! That’s when it all really began. ”
The truth dawned on me. While I’d thought of kindergarten as the start of my daughter’s social experience, the truth was that a large portion of her classmates and their parents had been forming relationships at the neighborhood preschools for years. By enrolling Punky in preschool programs across town instead of our area, I’d ended up socially crippling the both of us.
“You know,” Patsy said softly, no doubt hearing my muffled sobs. “We were very happy with Harper’s preschool. Your son might like it, too.” Immediately, I perked up.
“Thanks, Patsy,” I said, wiping my nose. “That’s very kind of you.” As I hung up, I felt a triumphant surge in my breast. For the first time ever…
I GOT THE MEMO.
And I liked it.
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[…] that every child then had to have. I didn’t say a word when I figured out you were behind the secret parent memos calling for expensive Easter baskets and candy on all the classroom Valentine’s Day cards. […]