Every week my fourth graders discuss and then draw an idiom. With Easter approaching, I had them draw “A Good Egg.” We discussed its meaning and then they drew some pretty great pictures. They also wrote an Easter haiku. As I walked around the room, admiring their creations and listening to one say that his was a disaster, it reminded me of one Easter that was a true disaster. For my daughter.
You know, most mothers do try to do their best when it comes to raising their children. Oh, sure, there are some women who should just live in a box and never reproduce, but for the most part, most of us really do try our hardest. Every once in a while, however, we just screw up.Royally. But, in our defense, we are on call 24 hours a day, so I’m thinking that we should be allowed a couple of mistakes. But, when you personally do something to make your child cry, well, you just want to start drinking.
My daughter, Alex, was named Alexandra when she was born. I love that name. Except when people called her Alexandria. Pissed me off. Do you see an extra vowel in her name, Goober? Well, then, don’t call her Alexandria. Anyway, she decided one day that she didn’t want to be called that anymore. She wanted to be called Alex. Her brother, Adam, always called her “Alice” when he was a toddler, so she knew that it could be shortened. And she was tired of learning to print her name. It took forever to print Alexandra. So, Alex it was. Oh, I love that name too, but I really should start calling her Alexandra again. Alexandra.
Anyways, Alexandra, now Alex was in kindergarten, and Easter was approaching. Her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Phillips, sent home a note and asked each parent to send in 6 eggs for the kids to color. Being a great mother, I naturally sent in a dozen. I was worried that some other child had a mother who should be living in a box and would not come to school with eggs. So, I sent in a dozen. I was a good egg.
I was glad they were going to color eggs at school, because I was never a fan. When I was little, I just didn’t get it. Dipping hard boiled eggs in a dye. Well, and then what? Some people ate them. Well, I learned very early that if you take something out of the refrigerator for so long, they really shouldn’t go back in there. Yeah, I was and still am OCD about food storage and reheating. Plus, I thought hard boiled eggs were gross. I was a picky child. Picky Vickie.
My mom really never colored eggs with us. Some people hid eggs outside and then the kids hunted them down, put them in their baskets, and then bragged on who found the most. I didn’t get it, even when I was little. After plastic eggs came on the market, then I got it. You could hide good stuff in the eggs. Like money or Hershey kisses. Then it was fun. But, hard boiled eggs that had been left out long did not appeal to me.
So, I boiled the eggs and sent them in.
Alex came home that afternoon and got off of the bus crying. I hated it when she cried. She was such a good little girl with such a good heart. It hurt when I would see her upset. I was ready to beat up whoever made her cry. She said that “….they made fun of my eggs.” Little kindergarten punks.
We got into the house and I went through her little backpack and saw a note in her homework folder from Mrs. Phillips.
Alexandra Alex cried all afternoon. I had no idea why until I noticed her eggs we just got done coloring………..You sent in brown eggs.”
I just stared at the note.
It may as well have looked like this:
I sent in brown eggs.
I wanted to first blame my husband for making me buy brown eggs in the first place. The Mendenhalls never ate brown eggs. I never really even saw a brown egg until I went to college and my roommate brought some from her real chicken. (As opposed to a fake one I guess.) Luckily, my roommate, Pat, who was from Philadelphia, and was just lost in rural West Virginia, spoke up first.
“Jeri, those eggs you brought back with you are rotten.”
“How do you know? Do they smell?”
“Uh, no. They are brown.”
Jeri cracked up and then explained that they weren’t rotten. They were just brown. Well, hell, that didn’t explain a damn thing to us. In my book, that meant that black cows really did give chocolate milk then.
But, after my flashback, and blaming my husband for thinking brown eggs taste better than white eggs, I re-read the note.
Shit. I sent in brown eggs.
I could just picture the kids in the kindergarten class. Sitting there, dipping their eggs in bright red, blue, and green colors. Oh, what fun. Well, for everyone except Alexandra/Alex. Hers probably came out camouflaged pukey green. All of them. No matter what color she used, the outcome would have been subdued and ugly. Fugly. She would probably look at the first one as a mistake and then was crying by number three dippy egg. Poor Alexandra/Alex.
I felt horrible. What a rotten egg. I was not an eggcellent mother. I was eggstremely awful.
So, I put the kids in the car and we drove to the store for some spiffy white eggs and an Easter egg dye kit. And we colored eggs that evening. And she quit crying because one of them was truly beautiful. Of course, I sang her praises and apologized a million times, as it wasn’t her fault. It was mommy’s fault. So, we colored eggs.
It would have been nice if I had remembered to boil them first though.