Today Gabe had the opportunity to participate in a History Day Competition up at the college. He made a project in class and advanced to this competition. We were all somewhat surprised as he did not put much effort into the project.... but I will refrain from writing a post about the quality of work required in schools. ;) I guess that sounds a bit rude. Gabe's project fulfilled all requirements in a solid though simple manner. I can say all of this because he was completely shocked that his project got selected to move on as well. What I am trying to say is that Gabe didn't have high expectations or nerves in going there. He was mostly just excited to be out of school for the day.
I volunteered to take a bunch of the projects in the 'burb from the Middle School to the College. Gabe and I got to hang out most of the morning as we met, loaded, unloaded, etc. It was pleasant, so I made a crazy move. I decided to linger longer at the College. The displays were in the Student Union Building and except for a few minutes of explaining their projects to the judges, the kids just hung out there all day.
Gabe was somewhat slow to warm up to my lingering ways. I knew I could go one of two ways. I could either bow out totally and head to the car, or I could step up from a 'linger' to something more obtuse. I knew there was a legitimate risk of severely embarrassing and alienating Gabe with my parental uncoolness, but I was ready to roll the dice and go for it. I had grabbed a deck of Phase10 cards as we ran out the door this morning, and I decided to step up my whole mom presence.
I asked Gabe and a couple of his friends if they wanted to play BS (this is a simple card game you can play with Phase10 cards). Gabe's immediate response was to decline. I had a parental pause moment and wondered if I had made the wrong choice in staying around, but I pressed on. Many of his friends seemed quite eager to kill some time with mindless card games, so I wasn't totally discouraged. Someone once told me that if you just smile in any situation, people will believe you have the world by the tail. So I smiled a little harder and applied a little peer pressure. After several phrases like, 'Come on, it will be a quick game,' he hesitantly agreed to a round of BS. This is where I really tried to turn on the whole, 'See, I can be a fun mom' vibe. And I think it worked!! Soon we were all laughing, talking, and calling out BS. Kids were coming around asking to be dealt into the next hand. I tried to play it cool and amp down my smile by this point because I was having a blast hanging out with Gabe.
I ended up hanging out for the whole day with Gabe. By the end of the day, he was yelling for me to come sit by him during the awards presentation. Of course I was in Mom-of-a-middle-schooler heaven. I wondered for a minute if I was missing the whole point of the day, because Gabe did not receive any awards...yet I was sitting there beaming with pride to be his mom. We had talked and laughed and enjoyed his friends all day. Together.
Gabe checking out some of the displays. They got judged by ladies from the historical society-I love their outfits!
I took this last picture of a game I got going called Murder. It's a fun interactive game where you get to hold hands!! After playing several rounds, I got out of the circle so I could get a picture. I was glad Gabe wondered if I was going to keep playing. The thing that made me really happy was to get to know some of Gabe's friends and see that they were really nice kids. Sometimes I focus on all of the naughty kids that are at the school and I forget that there are lots of families raising really wonderful children. I was glad to see that Gabe's good friends were really quite terrific. Thanks for letting me hang with you today G, I think you are super cool! :)