… From the moment my children left school forever ten years ago, I felt a radiant, ineffable joy suffuse my very being. Far from being depressed or sad, I was elated. There was a simple reason for this: From that point onward, I would never again have to think about the kids and school. Never, ever, ever.
I would never have to go to the middle school office to find out why my child was doing so poorly in math. I would never have to ask the high-school principal why the French teacher didn’t seem to speak much French. I would never have to ask the grade-school principal why he rewrote my daughter’s sixth-grade graduation speech to include more references to his own prodigious sense of humor and caring disposition, and fewer jokes of her own.
I would never have to complain that the school had discontinued the WordMasters competition, the one activity at which my son truly excelled. I would never have to find out if my son was in any way responsible for a classmate damaging his wrist during recess. I would never again have to listen to my child, or anyone else’s, play the cello.
As I look forward to my youngest graduating from high school next month, Queenan’s words strike very close to home. I feel relieved that my years of awkward questions and uncomfortable conversations with public school bureaucrats are ending.
Of course, it was not all bad. Some administrators and teachers are memorable as standing head and shoulders above the crowd in offering the very best to their students. For them I will be forever grateful. But to the rest, I find myself nodding in agreement to Queenan’s words.
… The ordeal had ended; the 18-year plague had run its course; the bitter cup had passed from my lips. I would never quaff from its putrid contents again. Good riddance.