Thursday, February 7, 2008

spelling bee

Jack was one of two students picked from his class
to be a part of a school wide spelling bee.
To say that we were proud parents is a bit of an understatement.
But Scott and I are also new to the world of competitions as parents.
We are newbies when it comes to the angst of seeing your child
perform in front of others and try and win.
Do you know what this meant for me? Diarrhea.
This may seem an inappropriate thing to write about.
But the thought of my child, spelling his heart out in front of
judges and classmates and parents, almost just laid me out.
I had to drop my other two kids off at my mother-in-laws house
and arrived late to the spelling bee.
They wouldn't let you enter the room while the kids were spelling,
so until the end of the round, I had my ear pressed to the crack in the
door to see if I could hear Jack's faint voice spelling.
Even now, typing this, my stomach is beginning to churn.
I made my way in and sat down and was bursting with parental love
as Jack spelled his way through 4 rounds.
I was a little distraught to see that Scott hadn't tucked
his shirt in and it was flowing out from underneath his uniform sweater,
but no matter.
Unkempt? Bedheaded? Syrup on the pants?
That's how we roll in the Aughtmon family.
Then Jack was asked to spell "misled". And he paused.
And oh for the love of all that is good and holy, in that slight pause,
we died a thousand spelling deaths.
And then he, using official spelling bee tactics, he asked for the definition.
Then he asked for the word to be repeated.
Then when he said the word "misled" the judges couldn't understand his
pronunciation (his "l's" often sound like "w's")
and they kept asking him to repeat it and I could tell
it was making him more nervous and finally, I called out,
"He's got it." Which I think is against spelling bee protocol for
parents to just yell things out, but we were dying, people.
So they let Jack spell it and he spelled it "missled."
They told him that it was incorrect,
everyone clapped and he came and sat down with us
and we showered him with praise and kisses.
And I could see his little face just working. So that he wouldn't cry.
And I told him,"Jack, it okay to be sad. You studied very hard."
And at this he burst into tears, as did I, I might add.
He said,"Mom, I kept thinking, is it 1 "s" or 2 "s's"? 1 or 2?"
Stupid S.
So we survived our first competition with some scarring, a few tears,
and some consolation krispy creme donuts and hot chocolate.
I feel a bit older. A bit more war torn. I can't deny it.
But I am proud of that sweet boy.
For being brave.
For trying.
But mostly, for being mine.

Jack and his spelling buddy


Leslie said...

A couple of tears sprang to my eyes just reading that, Sue. Being a parent is the sweetest pain anyone ever experiences, I believe. And that picture of those two handsome boys is pure gold.

Jessi said...

I almost cried too! Oh, I could feel every angle of the pain... yours as parent, his as speller! In 8th grade I made it to districts... and in front of the entire school I misspelled 'anise'. The way I spelled it (in front of EVERYONE!!) - you guessed it! ANUS!! I thought my mom would die...not because she was embarrassed of/for me but because she thought it was so hilarious.

Good job Jack!!!

Erica said...

Okay, now I'm just going to have to squeeze his head off! Tell Jack that Uncle Van, Aunt Erica, and all his Clements cousins are super proud of him!

Lora said...

That is the sweetest story, Sue! And you retell it with poetic entertainment!!

Christie's Corner said...

What a precious post...and a wonderful memory. Congrats, Jack!

Jodie said...

Okay, I have a major soft spot for all things spelling, especially the spelling bee... and as my children are still too young to participate in a bee I can so understand your diarrhea and sinking stomach. Oh but the pride! To see him up there, so brave! How could you not burst into tears with him!? What a great story - and I love the way you tell it!
PS - Love the picture of the boys! They look so happy!

susanna said...

I love all the outpourings of encouragement for our spelling bee experience! :) I'm not sure how I will make it through baseball, soccer or any other competitive activities! But my most favorite comment of all is from dear Jessi. I laughed outloud at your unfortunate spelling of "anise". That is awesome!

Shane said...

I laughed out loud... "Stupid S."