Thursday, September 22, 2016

Vote for Andrew

It's been a long time since I've posted, as I've moved my jumbled thoughts over to Facebook.  And... as the children get older, and can remember their own stories, I've felt less pull to document it on their behalves.  

But I want to talk to Future Andrew about this one.  

He started a new school this year.  On the first week of his new school, he came home with a flier about Student Council elections.  

"I want to run for class representative, Mommy," he said, and I nodded supportively. Then I started a mom-monologue ("mom-alogue"?) about how it was the experience of campaigning... it's hard to win as a brand-new student... but it's not about winning...blah blah blah.  

About a hundred times over the next week...as we planned his campaign posters, wrote his speech, and practiced his speech...I told him how BRAVE and AMAZING it was to me, that he'd even CONTEMPLATE campaigning at a new school. That it wasn't ever about winning to me, but that I admired his inner-fire that was willing to try.  

And then...he won.  He WON.  

As I waited in the afternoon carpool line on Election Day, I saw his little Andrew-grin flash across his face, as he waited in line for me.  He was squishing it in, I could tell, but something was boiling over in him. I love his impish grin. But surely, he couldn't have won. He's a brand new kid at this school!  But what else would prompt That Look?

The moment the door closed, he breathed out: "Mom. I. WON."  

I had to pull over in the parking lot so I could:

(a) Start crying.
(b) Hug him.
(c) Call/text Steve.
(d) Call the grandparents on speakerphone.

I thought the Lesson To Learn was about being brave and still not winning, because lordknows that's a life lesson too.  But to be brave and WIN.  Well, that's even more fun. 

The gaping hole in this story is that I couldn't call my mom and tell her.  For 6 years of my childhood's student council elections, she helped me make posters. Write speeches. I practiced in front of her in the living room.  She was my campaign manager, and they remain some of the best memories of my childhood with her.  I found old campaign posters in my dad's house this summer, and grinned ear-to-ear.  

It would've felt amazing to call her and say her grandson won Class Rep at his new school.   People might be absent in our lives, but their legacy burns through our moments still.  Here she was, 8 years after death, filling this moment.  

In the Stories of Andrew, the ones I'll keep telling him on repeat throughout his life, this will be one.   Not that he won, even, although that plot-twist is an explosion of goodness in an already epic Andrew Story.  But that he had the foolhardy bravery to attempt a campaign on his second week of a new school. To try for something that (let's be honest) maybe didn't make sense to those around him.  

Some of my absolute favorite parenting moments are the times when I'm 1000% wrong.