Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Principal's Confession

You know all those mommy blogs out there, where a harried and exhausted mother admits she abhors  something she knows she's supposed to love?  I secretly hate packing my child's lunch.  Or, I actually don't like nursing.  It hurts and it's exhausting.  Or perhaps, I skip pages when I read my child to sleep, because the stories are stupid and I'm tired.  

I've got a guilty admission, too, but it's not about being a mother. Mine is a confession about being a principal, one I hesitate to even mention because only a bad person and crappy principal would feel this way.  It's this:  Yearbook day.  

This is the day in late May when kids get the yearbook they ordered way back in October, and the manic, free-for-all flurry of yearbook signing begins.

That's what I hate.  I hate, hate, hate signing yearbooks.

I should love it, and treasure the honor, just like all mothers should love and honor packing a child's lunch, right?  But I don't.  Instead, I feel anxious and unable, all discombobulated with all the eager faces peering up at me, the Sharpies thrust in my face, all the, "Mrs. Schwanke Mrs. Schwanke Mrs. Schwanke Mrs. Schwanke."  Of course, I force a smile and say, "I'd love to!"  And then I awkwardly find a wall or use the kid's back as a flat surface, and open the book, all crooked and off-kilter, and the pen is in my hand, and I try to take the lid off and invariably drop it, and I start to write something, but I can't think of something concise and eloquent to say, something that will live on that back cover FOREVER, something that will mean something personal.  So I end up just making a stupid little heart shape and signing my name, which doesn't seem enough, somehow, because each kid should get a little more from me, shouldn't they?  Shouldn't every child get a message from their principal, written with love and care?  A long and heart-tugging note to wrap up a great year?

So on yearbook day, all day long, I feel inadequate and crappy.  Each time I am asked to sign a yearbook, I do it poorly, and then I'm disappointed in myself.  Each time, I scold myself to change my attitude, and I make  one of those feeble self-promises to do better next time, and then I don't— another gaggle of kids comes up to me, herd-like, and shoves a Sharpie in my personal space and I go through the whole thing again.  And the whole time, I'm feeling on edge because there are fifty other things I should be doing with my time—big end-of-year tasks and questions and problems to deal with.

And then the day ends, and the last day of school comes, and the problem goes away for another year.  But I still feel kinda bad about it, every time I see my copy of the yearbook sitting on my desk.

Next year, by God, I'm going to find a way to love it.  I don't know how—maybe I'll reward myself with a M-n-M every time I do it right.  Or maybe I'll just block the whole day off my calendar and walk around with my own Sharpie and sign every book, unprompted.  Maybe I'll sign each one before they even get distributed.  I don't know.  But there has to be a better way, right?  I am determined to find it.

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