Our daughter invited us to a parents' luncheon at her university, an occasion to honor the December graduates of the College of Education. We were pleased to be asked, and had looked forward to everything she was excited about, or what she envisioned: a sit-down luncheon, a slideshow with a couple pictures of herself in her placement schools, and the chance to introduce us to the professors she highly esteemed and vice versa. That's kind of what I was expecting as well, though nothing was in writing.
Funny how expectations have a way of making themselves known only when they meet with reality. I think we all expected that there would be tables and chairs, plenty to eat and drink, maybe a Kleenex moment when we got to see the slide of our girl teaching at either her second grade or kindergarten placement amidst a slew of other student teachers' slides in the show.
What we got was the polar opposite. After trekking up three flights of steps in the parking garage, uphill for 1/2 a mile on cobblestones and concrete, in heels, with a brisk chill in the air, we finally arrived at the "ballroom," ready to sit down. Good luck with that. The ballroom was outfitted with high, round tables and no chairs. Lots of balloons. More balloons than food, as a matter of fact. Too bad I wasn't hungry for latex.
I wondered, as did many others from the sound of it, who on earth was put in charge of "traffic flow" of these food lines? Picture this: 400 cold, hungry ,tired students and their middle-aged parents at 3:30 in the afternoon trying to fill plates the size of a nickel. Imagine long skinny food tables butted up against each other, about the length of a football field, but catered by Jenny Craig, with fruit at the 10 yard line, veggies at the 20, salsa and dip at the 40, shrimp at the 50 yard line, and of course crab yummies in the end zone. Imagine also that some people started at the end zone, loaded up, .and made their way toward the fruit, not sure whether to play offense or defense in the game of dining. At the fifty-yard line was a gridlock. Paul and I never made a touchdown for the crab thingies before they were gone.
I think one man at the mic thanked everyone for coming, but he made a point to mention that this event was usually only put on for the May graduates ,and that because of budget constraints, they almost didn't do it for the December graduates. Wow, did he really say that? That's a bit like saying, "Welcome to our home. Don't eat much or stay long, even though you've paid for the kitchen and all the dishes in it."
As for the slideshow, three departments were asked to submit their photos--Early Childhood, Early Elementary, and Secondary Ed. Our girl is in Early Childhood Ed. Well, the secondary ed folk were in charge of putting the slideshow together, so guess who didn't get so much as ONE picture of herself in it? We were so disappointed for both her and her best friend in the cohort.
The keynote speaker was addressed as the county's teacher of the year. As if that weren't enough, the speaker himself reminded us in his (not so brief) speech that not only had he been chosen as Teacher of the Year for the county, he was also selected as Teacher of the Year for the State o' Merlin. Apparently humility is not of the core values being highlighted this year.
There were supposed to be many professors in attendance, mingling with the parents and students in a "fond farewell" atmosphere. They must have been more fond of their Berkaloungers and Snugglies than of the people who butter their proverbial bread.
I'll stop here with my moaning and groaning. All I could think was, "for crying out loud, if our kids are in college, we are old enough to need chairs .Please, is that asking too much?" Evidently so. The balloons broke the budget. Chairs would be extravagant.
But at least there was a parting gift for each graduate. They were each given a calculator. And as a bonus, it came with a set of printed directions for how to use it. You can just never get too much cutting-edge technology in the classroom, ya know.
So we got maybe one decent shot (not really). It looks like my hair has taken flight to London or something, but if you look closely, it's my daughter's blending in from behind. My hubby's expression pretty much sums up my thoughts.