I have been cursed with a bizarre kind of photographic memory. My memory is useless when it comes to things like the periodical table of elements, algebraic equations, and the Magna Carta, which is precisely why I wrote all those things on my hands during tests when I was in high school. But my memory is impeccable when it comes to lyrics from any song written in the 80s, dreams where my husband does something questionable, and ridiculously silly conversations I have with my daughter. The following is an exact transcript of the conversation I had with my daughter as we waited in the school drop-off line the week before school ended.
“We are here so early, the school isn’t even open yet,” I said.
“That’s good because you have been dropping me off late all year and I have always wanted to be early,” my daughter said.
“School doesn’t start until 9:00am; I drop you off at 8:45am,” I said with just a hint of exasperation.
“Exactly. It’s too late,” she said.
“What? You don’t even finish your breakfast until 8:35am,” I said and looked at my daughter.
“I think we both know whose fault that is,” my daughter said with a toothless smirk.
I started counting slowly to ten because I read somewhere that it calms you down; before I got to four, my daughter had already switched gears.
“I need a five dollar bill.”
“Why do you need a five dollar bill?” I asked.
“I just want to do something nice for my teacher,” she said with a smile.
“And a five dollar bill is the nicest gift you can think of? What about some flowers or drawing her a beautiful picture,” I said sagely.
“A picture is a good idea, Mommy,” she said happily.
“What are you going to draw for her?” I asked, glad the conversation was finally going in a positive direction.
“I’m going to draw her a five dollar bill!” she exclaimed. “I still need you to give me a five dollar bill so I can draw it.”
I craned my neck to the front of the drop-off line in a vain attempt to will the school doors open, but had no luck. Just then my daughter noticed the boy in the car behind us.
“Mommy, that’s the boy that sits next to me! The one who always lies!” she yelled like a crazy woman.
“What does he lie about?” I asked.
“He says he has a brother but I don’t think he does,” she said like she just uncovered a conspiracy theory that could rival JFK’s assassination.
“What makes you think he’s lying?”
“It’s his eyes, Mommy. Remember when I told you I climbed George Washington’s nose when you weren’t looking that time at Mount Rushmore? And you said you knew I was fibbing because of my eyes? That’s how I know he’s lying,” she said intensely.
“Well, your eyes weren’t the only clue on that one,” I said and smiled.
“And he also wears tank tops to school and when he raises his hand I can see his armpit,” she said with utter disgust.
“Yes, that clearly marks him as a miscreant,” I laughed.
“And now I can’t wear a tank top because then he will see my armpit when I raise my hand,” she said with such an impassioned tone I almost felt bad for her armpits.
“I never knew kindergarten was such a rough place,” I said with amusement.
“It is,” my daughter agreed. “Mommy, the doors are open now! I can go in!” she yelled excitedly.
“Give this to your teacher,” I said as I handed her a twenty dollar bill.
“Why?” she asked while tentatively taking the twenty.
“Your teacher has been in a classroom with you since August; hopefully she can find a nice happy hour after school today,” I said.
“What’s happy hour?” my daughter asked as she climbed out of the car.
“It’s where teachers go to relax after a long school year,” I said.
Maybe I’ll join her, I thought to myself.