This is a very late Slice of Life, a link up started by Two Writing Teachers. It’s late, but I say it counts! I wrote it for Tuesday, and just now had the chance to actually post it.
Slice of Life: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
My children’s school puts on a Martin Luther King Jr. Day play each year on this day. This was the second year my daughter participated in the play, and the first year they did a performance at night – which means it was my first chance to watch it.
I thought I had everything planned and figured out. Mr. Thought will do school pick up, karate preparation, and karate drop off. When I come home and change from my #nerdultion exercise attire back into regular clothes, I will pack the kids sandwiches for a “van picnic.” Mr. Thought will pick kids up from karate, bring them home to change back into regular clothes (or in L’s case, dressy clothes). We will race to the school just in time for L to join her classmates, and the rest of us to join the audience. We will sit peacefully and enjoy the play and the singing. If the boys get restless, they will surely color with the crayons and paper I have dutifully remembered to bring.
I forgot. I forgot that H will be tired, and will have already seen this play during school. I forgot. I forgot that E will be overtired, having not had a nap. . . I’ve been a parent for over 10 years, and it’s incredible how much I can forget.
H walks in from Karate and says, “I’m not going. I already saw this play, and just like Martin Luther King says ‘Ain’t going to let nobody turn me around,’ I’m not going to let you make me go.”
I am mad, and I am proud. He could very well ruin this evening for L, and make us late, or be rude during the performance if we make him go. However, he obviously watched the play at school if he can make such a clear connection to his life. He is feeling unfairly treated, and he has a point. So, I call my mom and see if by chance he could hang with her.
Of course he can. We have to leave in 5 minutes, and L is still changing, H is deciding if he should stay or go. (Please sing it) E catches on, and now he wants to stay with Granny. And after lots of screaming, crying, and figuring out, it is decided that both boys will stay.
Somehow we are still on time! As the performance begins, I am drawn into this story of the non-violent Civil Rights Movement as the middle school students tell it, and the Peace Choir sings it (that’s where L is, singing with vigor). The story is moving, the songs are heartfelt, and the message is beautiful. To hear these students speak of freedom and equality brings tears to my eyes.
When the students sing “Ain’t going to let nobody turn me around,” I think of H, and how he should win some “house points” from Dumbledore. If “…It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends…” it must take even more bravery to stand up to your mom. I’m glad he understands that part of the message – stand up for yourself and your rights!