Friday, October 16, 2015

Pants On Fire



“But it’s a lie. That note is a lie.” 
I was surprised to see him standing there. He wasn’t supposed to be up for another hour. 
I was explaining to his very reasonable and understanding 12 year old brother that I put a note in his backpack saying that he was sick the day before. So if anyone asked just go along with it. 
“But we weren’t sick. We were in Altoona,” Little One chimes in.
The 12 year old rolled his eyes. “Yeah, but mom will get in trouble for keeping us out of school, so we are just saying we were sick!” He then looks at me and says “You know I already told some of my teachers that I probably was going to miss yesterday, right?” 
Damn-it. No I did not know this, because I didn’t even know that I was definitely keeping them out of school that day. And it was ONE day. I had already lectured them on the responsibility of making up for that day, by doing extra work. Uhhhgggg! 
Lets step back a couple of months. It was August. My birthday just passed and it was a nice Summer day. We spent the weekend at the shore with my parents and some good friends. I asked The Hub what he wanted to do for his birthday in October.  We thought of the cool weather and changing leaves if the next season. He said he wanted to take the boys to see Horseshoe Curve in Altoona, PA. 
Really? I thought. Altoona? Trains? Altoona? It shouldn’t have been a surprise. He is a train/history geek and our boys are following in his footsteps. They get pretty damn excited to see trains and when they see his excitement it just takes the experience to a whole other level. 
OK, Altoona it is. I researched on Trip Advisor and found a very reasonable Microtel that included breakfast. The prices were good, but then again, it’s Altoona. Who wants to go to Altoona? Oh right, we do. That is why I booked it. 
The weekend weather was not hospitable. We drove up after school on Friday. The ride is about 4 hours, give or take. The plan was to view the changing colors of the leaves and the beauty of the Allegheny Mountains.  It poured.  It was approximately 48 degrees and rained off and on from the time we left the boys’ schools on Friday until late Sunday afternoon.  The mountains were extremely foggy. Like can’t-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face-let-alone-pretty-leaves, foggy. 
This did not deter the train-spotting or the Railroader’s Museum or the famous Horseshoe Curve (which we went to see TWICE) or the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Park and Museum, or the Gallitzin Tunnel or the Rail-fan’s Overlook. We did all these things, umbrellas in hand and giddy smiles on their faces. I was along and smiling, but would sometimes retreat to the car for a little respite. 
I mean HOW MANY FUCKING TRAINS DOES ONE NEED TO SEE? The horseshoe curve was pretty neat, but it was cold and rainy BOTH times we went. They HAD to wait to see more trains. 
OK, I promised myself I was not going to be cynical or dampen their enthusiasm.  I was happy to see them so happy.  I did really enjoy how excited they all got and how geeked-out they were over everything train or history related.  I mean how many guys would want to spend their birthday taking their kids to see sites?  The Hub is a great dad and a wonderful person all together.  If he wanted Altoona, by God, Altoona it was!  My love for them was the only thing driving my ass up there.
That leads us to the decision making process.  The weather was not fun, however the forecast called for a clearing up on Sunday evening and a beautiful crisp 60 degree, sunny,  Monday.  We made the executive decision to keep the kids out of school on Monday and to wind our way home via a very scenic route, to enjoy the leaves and beautiful early-fall weather. 
“But it is a lie. The note is a lie.” Little One repeats. First grade is a big deal and he takes it very seriously. He loves his teacher. LOVES her. 
“I know, buddy. I am sorry. You are right, I shouldn’t lie. You don’t have to do anything, just hand the note to your teacher,” I said.
Little One looked at me like he always does when he is on to me, “The lie note?” 
I looked back “Yes, the lie note. Do you want waffles for breakfast?”
He ate his breakfast and was off to school.
When he got home I asked him how his day went. He responded that it was a good day. I tentatively asked if he gave his teacher the note. 
He very matter of factly said, “Yes, and I told her that you lied. I told her it was a lie note.”
I looked at my husband who looked back at me and we just stared at each other. The Hub asked him, “Well, what happened?”
He said, “Well, I didn’t give her the note right away. I just told her that my mom wrote a note that I was sick yesterday but that is a lie, because I wasn’t sick. I was in Altoona. She said thank you but she still needed to see the note. So I gave it to her. I gave her the lie note.” 
I was simultaneously, proud, mortified and exhausted. Little One then went into the living room to watch SpongeBob. The Hub and I looked at each other and cracked the hell up. I mean I can’t fault the kid for telling the truth. I can’t fault him for calling me out to his teacher. So I decided to send the teacher an e-mail. 
Luckily she is a very kind woman. Luckily she found the humor in his calling me out along with the humor of my mea culpa e-mail. Luckily she explained that she understood my keeping him out of school that day and that his education does not only take place in those four walls. She also told me that he used the Horseshoe Curve in one of he writing projects that day! 
At least I am raising someone who believes in honesty and integrity even when his mother is a liar. I must be doing something right! Right? 
It’s all good though, I was paid back. The First Born who was all too happy to lie, threw up. On the bus. On the way to school. That very day. So I had to go up to his school to pick him up before school even started. He is still complaining about all the work he missed being out 2 days in a row. 
Moral of the story, don’t lie. And if you do, make sure at least one of your kids calls you out. It’s better for everyone.