How is your son? (#434)

“We had a great summer,” I said several times over today. Classes start tomorrow at the college where I teach and my day was full of meetings to plan and reflect and prepare, and of the oft-repeated question, “how was your summer?”
My answer came very naturally and was sometimes followed by a little pause and then “that’s great!” or “it was too short, as usual!” or “how is your son?”

How is your son.

How is my son.

(Some of those asking this question were colleagues who had seen me hurry out of meetings last year when my cell phone flashed with the school nurse’s number, and I packed up my things and said, “I’m sorry, I have to go, Charlie’s having some trouble……,” and make a run for my car.)

I responded:

“He’s doing really well.”

“We moved in with my in-laws and he loves his new school.”

The conversation moved on. I could also have noted how, yesterday, Charlie sat outside the office of my chairperson and waited while I spoke to him for at least ten minutes. The secretary was at her desk and she told me how, when I had mentioned Charlie’s learning to play the piano this summer, Charlie had smiled big and beaming wide. I could also have added how Charlie went to get the shopping cart in the store with my parents; how he went out to the car an hour early at the mention of seeing a “moo-vee,” and came back inside as requested; how he sat through all but the last ten minutes of Pirates of the Caribbean 2 (which is over two hours long); how he sat and listened to my mom reading him books.

I was glad to talk about enrollment figures in my classes and “decorum in the college classroom,” hear about a research project on Shakespeare’s history plays.

I do not know what the upcoming school year will bring for Charlie—-still struggling to learn to read, to use whole sentences, to write the letters of the alphabet—but I do know one thing:

I can set my cell phone to “silent” this year when I’m teaching.

9 Responses to “How is your son? (#434)”
  1. Yeah for silent phones. Long time coming and I hope it goes well. To feel more confident about his placement is awesome.

    Gosh, I have been missing that “back to school” feel. Don’t know when I am going back at this point. Have a great schoo year.

  2. tara says:

    Your experience and attention to Charlie has served you well- I am so glad you are satisfied with his
    school and comfortable back in yours!!

  3. Jemaleddin says:

    You know, I’m getting pretty sick of coming here and having you make me cry. That’s just beautiful – I’m so happy for you and Charlie.

  4. Mamaroo says:

    I loved picturing him sitting outside the chairperson’s office waiting patiently for you and having a big smiling after hearing you talk about how he is learning to play the piano. He is so sweet!

  5. Rebecca says:

    It feels so good to go back over a period of time and be able and count up several improvements in behavior and improved skills. It is a wonderful solice during the times when progress is not as obvious. Your successes encourage me to keep plodding:-)

    Best wishes to you and Charlie in the new school year.

  6. Christine says:

    Setting your cell to silent speaks volumes about Charlie’s progress. You must feel (rightfully so) confident in the tools that he is acquiring. Yay for Charlie!!

  7. I’m passing the Kleenex after reading all of your comments….. he still has a week to go before the First Day.

    After last year, I never thought I’d be confident ever again about Charlie’s days at school—figured that the new norm would be running away from work early to pick him up….It’s good to just be hopeful.

  8. ashley says:

    Those are such great nuggets that tell how much Charlie has grown. Only another parent can know how amazing those examples of regular life are.

    Silent phone? Wow, that’s quite something.

  9. Wade Rankin says:

    At the workplace, the question of how your son is doing can carry either of two connotations: (a) genuine and sincere concern for someone who is valued; or (b) worry that the pesky personal life of someone will intrude into the workplace. From the tone of your post, I am assuming it is the former.

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