The first words anyone (other than my wife or kid) said to me today were, “Oh, did K-Man forget to wear his costume this morning?” The look on my face must have said, “Oh, f*#$%!” But, I played it off with a calm, “No, we tried to get him into his costume this morning, but he didn’t want to wear it.”
K-Man’s school at the Jewish Community Center is celebrating Purim, which, as I recall, is to celebrate the ummmm…ahhhhh…it’s the….Oh, I know. It’s Jewish Halloween. Yes, that’s it. (No, of course that’s not it, but the “Losing my Religion” post is coming at another time.) The point is that to celebrate Purim, all of the kids in the class were supposed to wear costumes this morning. And they all did. Except K-Man.
So, “Oh, did K-Man forget to wear his costume this morning?” gets translated into something like this:
Oh, isn’t it a shame that K-Man has such idiotic parents that they can’t remember something simple like dressing him in a costume? Wow, I feel so badly that K-Man has parents who obviously don’t care enough about him. His dad must be a total tool and where is his mom? I mean the freakin’ flyer has been posted on the classroom door for a month. How hard is it to remember to wear a costume on one day? Thank G-D I don’t have to work full-time so I can both remember to dress little Samantha in her princess costume AND still find the time to make this dad feel like an incapable ass.
What was worse were the stares that I got from all the other moms who were in the classroom with their cameras – just waiting to capture the kids in their Superman, Ladybug and Thomas the Tank Engine costumes. But what absolutely, positively KILLED me was the kid dressed like a firefighter. A $#%^&(*$ firefighter! That’s K-Man’s deal, damnit! I know that K-Man didn’t really understand (and probably didn’t care) that he was the only kid in class wearing jeans and a sweater, but I certainly did.
I’ve known about the costume/Purim thing for weeks. G and I have talked about it. In fact, at one point, she considered taking the day off to hang out in the class for the day. And we forgot. It doesn’t matter that we spend oodles of time with the kid or that we take him to a freaking firehouse every day. It doesn’t matter that we go out of our way to expose him to new experiences. It doesn’t matter that he is showered with love and affection. What matters is that we forgot that he was supposed to wear his costume today. We’re THOSE parents. And, from this point forward, that’s how we’re going to be branded.
I already hear the whispers, “Oh, that’s K-Man. His parents forgot to dress him in a costume at Purim. Can you imagine?” Where we live (in an area filled with dominant, my-kid-can-do-no-wrong-and-I’m-a-better-parent-than-you parents), such an oversight is potential grounds for a call to Child Protective Services.
I can laugh about this all I want, but the fact is I do feel like a total ass. I do feel like I let my kid down. And, though I’m not one of those overly competitive “my kid kicks ass!” parents, I also don’t want to be known as the “dad who forgets.” I felt horrible when I lied about the reason K-Man wasn’t in his costume. Hell, I felt like an idiot for even thinking that I needed to lie. Why couldn’t I have just said, “Oh, right…I totally forgot.” That’s probably the worst part of all – I threw my own kid under the bus on this one. Had he known about wearing a costume today, he would have been happy to wear one.
Sorry, K-Man. Rest assured it won’t happen again.