From the moment I opened the door, I knew things weren't good, Freyja was curled up on the sofa, and her spelling list was crumpled up next to her on the coffee table.
My mother was in the kitchen.
They walked home from school together my mother, very generously volunteers in Freyja's classroom on Thursday.
Like really, VOLUNTEERS, using her teaching chops to assist the teacher with testing and the challenging children, for the whole day.
Freyja struggles with traditional school and rote learning.
Spelling and math facts are hard for her.
They were hard for me.
Very hard; I hated school, despite being an early and strong reader.
Despite being talented and gifted.
My mother is academically gifted in a different way than I was.
She is an excellent speller, and good at math.
She is a successful student.
I was always c r e a t i v e, and that is not a very good thing, unless you are rich.
So when I walked into the scene in my livingroom this afternoon, I knew exactly what was going on.
My mother was attempting to practice spelling and Freyja was shutting down. Her shutting down looks quit different from my shutting down looked like at that age.
I was a crier.
A fall aparter.
Freyja snarls, argues and covers her ears. She is way tougher than I ever was, possibly than I ever will be.
When my mother left for home, I unwound Freyja from the sofa, after some halfhearted shouting, which she didn't really mean.
I looked in her lunch box, and discovered that it was full.
Both of my children take after their father, they fall apart when they are hungry.
I would have to starve for days before I had that type of reaction, but they flip their wigs after a couple of hours.
It is a constant, annoying battle to keep the three of them fueled up.
I asked if she would like an egg. She is a terribly picky eater and our pantry options were limited.
Would you like an egg? How about one perfectly lovely egg and a slice of white toast?
Would you like it scrambled, or fried?
Fried... Is fried the kind with the white all around, and the yolk, soft in the center?
Yes. Would you like it with cheese?
Would you like it fried inside a cutout of bread?
No, just fried, with a slice of toast, no butter, and separate.
So I made one perfect over easy egg, and a side of toast, on separate plates, and then another, and when she was finished, she practiced her spelling with Onkel and Maxwell.
It was one of those parenting wins, you have every once in a blue moon. A moment that could have easily gone the other direction.