Then there was the parking lot full of massive, BUSH/CHENEY-stickered SUV's around which I had to navigate my little sedan, sniffing self-righteously and passing judgment on perfectly nice people, the majority of whom I'd never spoken to beyond Good Morning. If I could fit three boys, three backpacks, and an armload of soccer balls into my decently (if not extraordinarily) fuel-efficient set of wheels, why couldn't they? Hadn't they heard about global warming? Harrumph.
But what do you know? People change. Or, rather, we evolve, and we open our minds. I certainly did--within a month or so, I'd found no small number of kindred spirits at my sons' school: the mother who confessed that she was brutally hungover and wished they'd hurry up and get to the prayer (non-denominational) and pledge of allegiance so she could race home and go back to sleep. The mother who rolled her eyes at my comment that oftentimes the third child is, shall we say, a lovely (if shocking) surprise and said, "Ha! No lie. But you know, he followed me into the laundry room and was so insistent that we do it right there...". The father who said he utterly hated football, and not just because the Bucs suck.
It's now late November 2006, and I've lost count of the number of Priuses and Honda hybrids sharing space with the SUV's. One of the high school dads drives his old daisy-bedecked VW minibus--I swear!--that bears such legends as Peace Is A Family Value and WMNF Community Radio (our local source for the wisdom of Amy Goodman).
And yes, there are even some male ponytails here and there, though not quite everywhere.
This morning, I walked Son Three into his Kindergarten classroom and checked out the terrific Thanksgiving art on the wall, since it would come down today. Son Three's creation was captioned thusly:
I am thankful for this school.
And next to it, his buddy's drawing said:
I am thankful for my Moms.
Who are marvelous women, by the way. And this in what I'd once assumed was an über-conservative parochial school in this very red state.
See--there is hope. I am thankful for that, as well.