A couple of weeks ago, Sarah graduated…er, “stepped up” or in this case “stepped out of” eighth grade. Now I know every parent thinks their kids are brilliant, right? Well…except for me. I mostly think my kids are a pain in the ass. But, I gotta admit, Sarah is pretty farking smart. Mostly because the kid tells me all the time how smart she is. There’s some truth in it, though. She’s had straight A’s since like, third grade. I don’t lie. She has. Well…except for last marking period. But…I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here.
Let’s dial this thing back a few more days prior, shall we? I got a letter in the mail that Sarah was nominated for the school’s principal award. A big ta-do. It is. You gotta maintain this ridiculous grade point average for so many years, be in so many school activities, discover the whereabouts of a unicorn, etc. Sarah played the whole thing down. I’m not gonna win it. Too many kids know too many teachers. It’s rigged, etc. And I pretty much ignored her. I didn’t think that she would win, either. Not that she couldn’t but…what are the odds, right?
(Spoiler alert: She won the award. Now, you can go back to looking for porn if you want.)
Fast forward to the awards assembly. The place is packed with miserable parents, teachers and kids. And my kid’s name is getting called left and right. Sarah Gormley this. Sarah Gormley that. “And for most righteous…Sarah Gormley.” Seriously…it was a bit nauseating. I love the kid and all..but, c’mon! Give the other kids a chance, Sarah! Guess I should’ve kept my mouth shut, though. Cause she did give the other kids a chance. She wasn’t called for the award for “A’s in science all year”. Likewise, no award for “straight A’s all year”. The first time since third grade!
Wow! What the hell was that about? Mental note, rag on Sarah bout it later. Oh…don’t give me that crap. I’m proud of the kid. But, as her father…I am entitled to a little teasing. It’s the only perk of the flippin job. Well, that and teaching them how to curse when they’re learning to talk. That one, though, comes back to bite me in the ass ALL THE TIME. But, I digress…
The assembly dragged on. I checked the schedule of events. We were finally coming to the special awards part. The itinerary called for the presentation of two awards. I forgot the name of the award Sarah was nominated for, but it had to be one of those, if not both. She’s that great. Up on the stage, the school’s principal introduced the presenter of the first award.
“Words. Words. Words. More words. Words. Words. Even more words. Words. Words (You’ve been to these things a million times, you know how they go). And the Michael J Fox award for skilled craftsmanship goes to…”
I sat on the edge of my seat.
Damn! She gets the prince and Sarah’s award? Nuts to her!
The audience applauded. Kate went up to the stage to accept the award. The principal returned to the podium to introduce the next presenter. A woman seated behind him rose and took the podium.
“Yak, yak, yak. Blah, blah, blah…Peabody award goes to…”
The suspense was KILLING ME! I never won a thing in my life. And here was my eldest daughter, on the verge of winning…
Fuck! I fisted my leg. I hate Brad Pitt! He’s a total show off. There’s no way on god’s blue marble that guy loves all those adopted kids. Maybe one or two, no more than three. But all those kids? Please. Show off. I slipped against the back of my seat. Meh…whatever. Doesn’t matter. I’ve got three other kids right behind Sarah that could win that fucking award. Just gonna have to be a lot harder on them going forward. Guess we’ll be forgoing desserts here on out.
The assembly dragged. More awards. More awards. I politely golf clapped my way through them, really just wishing for a quick end (just like the rest of you). The principal rose to the podium. Again.
“For our final award of the day…” Nice! I quickly checked the Schedule to make sure. This was it! It was over. Thank god. ‘Cause, really? I was done. I had checked out. My body was still in the auditorium, but my soul? It had the air cranked in minivan, rocking out to “You Give Love a Bad Name”. The principal continued. “…is the John D Rockefeller award for Super Excellence. This award goes to the most cleverest, smartest, respectful…(I’ll spare you here. Just imagine this going on for two more days). “The recipient of the John D Rockefeller award for Super Excellence is…(insert dramatic pause)…Sarah Gormley!”
Let me tell you something. You never saw a dude jump out of his seat faster or higher than I did at that moment. I was like Rocky after running up all those god damn steps in that movie…what was it called? Shit! I forget…doesn’t matter. And the howl that came out of me? Man! I swear the place reverberated. Remember how that girl ripped off her shirt at the end of that one soccer match a few years ago? Yea…that was totally me.
When I finally landed from leaping off my seat, I triumphantly looked around at all the parents of all the losers of the award. The looks I was getting were, well…not flattering. In their defense, though, I guess the whole scene was fairly obnoxious of me. “Sorry.” I said to everyone. I nodded toward Sarah crossing the stage. “That’s my sister.”
Let me tell you. If there was any second in my life that I wish could’ve last a lot longer, it was that one. I have never known/felt such triumph in my days! Never felt such pride as a parent, father or person than I did at that moment.
Afterward, I waited for Sarah through the crush of people. We walked back to the van, she being inundated with congratulations and praise. She smiled and graciously accepted all of it. As we got into the van I said…“I’m really proud of you, Sarah.”
She beamed. “Thanks!”
“But,” I shook my head disapprovingly, backing the van out of the parking spot. “What’s with the B in science? There goes all those straight A’s!” I laughed and turned my attention back to getting out of the nightmare that was the school’s parking lot. Now look, I’m not sure, but I swear I saw Sarah giving me the finger out of the corner of my eye.