Alison has never liked to get in trouble. She doesn't like to be the center of attention, generally, and never when it's negative attention.
So you can imagine her reaction to her very first detention.
That's right: the little red head had to visit the principal and explain herself. And then she had to explain herself to her mother. And her father.
It was not the happiest of times.
We're trying not to be too upset about it. Afterall, in her seven years of catholic academic instruction, she's never been sentenced to detention. She's barely been on the bubble.
And her crimes were not felonious. She failed -- three times -- to be prepared for class.
She claims she didn't hear that one assignment was due on Monday (rather than Tuesday) another one required both sides of the work sheet (not just one) and she didn't check the email account for math so she didn't even know about that other assignment.
Three preparedness infractions = a lunchtime detention to be served Monday.
When I went to pick her up Friday, she knew I knew. She saw me and her chin hit her chest. It's a wonder she was bale to traverse the gym floor to get to me her head was so low.
She sobbed on the way home as she confessed she'd had to see Mr. Stewart and he said he was "shocked" to have her in the hotseat before him.
I did not smile. I was severe. I used the dreaded "disapointed in you" line. She's grounded for the weekend. No Chatard football game. No screens of any kind.
And yardwork on Saturday.
Do you know how much time there is in a weekend without a television or an iPad? There's a lot of time. Like, a lot.
So it was good we spent so much time in the yard. We broke out LPS Monopoly, Pictureka, Gin Rummy and dominoes. She did her homework early and read a few books that had been collecting dust.
We cooked. We shopped.
We did allow her to attend the Christ the King Spaghetti Supper. But only because it was the most convenient time to gather with her basketball team for an end-of-season meal.
It was really sweet. The girls gave Coach Reed a gift card for dinner and some unique art and some really sweet notes. He spent all afternoon creating certificates for them with a tiger watermark, a team photo and cheer, a individual note from coach to athlete and a headband to keep them focused while they practice for next year.
The team is made up mostly of 5th graders and they'd really like it if he'd coach again next year. Alison was not in favor of being held back a year so she could play with her team again.
The moms and I are pondering whether Jeff could coach two teams next year. It would make practice easier...
He truly is a great coach. I admit that I was afraid he's be too hard on the girls and let a few bad words slip but he was great. The one time he pounded on a wall and made the gym echo turned out to be a celebration of something good.
So it was a great, albeit losing season.
Also this weekend, I was inspired by my friend Tina who changed her Facebook profile picture to one of her father in uniform. I, too, made note of Veteran's Day by posting a photo of my father in uniform.
I've been peeking at that photo all weekend. It's made me sad sometimes because I really miss him and happy too because I was so lucky to have him.
Alison looked at it and said, "Oh, he looks so happy and carefree. But that was before you all were born, right?"
A Facebook friend from home said "Everyone loved your dad. I never heard a bad word said about him."
My dad was 70 when he died. That's a long time to be around and not have anyone grouse about you.
He really was a great person. He was raised an even more strict Pentacostal than he raised us, and for him, it really stuck.
He was one of those unusual Christians. Deeply devout but not one to push it on anyone else. He suffered a lot, but seemed to deal with it by actually believing the Scripture that said the more you suffer on Earth the better off you'll have it in Heaven.
I'm not always sure there is a God. But I hope there's one, and I hope that he delivers on all the promises he made to my Dad.
None of my father's seven children measure up to him. Not a one of us. But he still loved us. Still tried to make us better people.
If he had to get a microscope out to do it, he'd find something about each of us that he could be proud of. He was good like that.
So anyway. Happy Veteran's Day to my dad and to everyone who served, including Captain Coach Reed.
My father liked Jeff a lot. In part because my dad was a traditionalist and he was happy that someone finally agreed to take responsibility for me. He might have also hoped that Jeff's law degree would be helpful in keeping some of us out of jail.
But I think my dad saw more in Jeff than I did. He saw the coach, the dad just waiting to be. I'll leave you with this interesting parallel.
Back when I was in high school, I was involve in an altercation at school. Long story short, I was in a bit of a love triangle although I was unaware of it. After nearly a year of bullying, a direct threat was made; a punch was thrown and I landed in the prinicipal's office.
Unlike my daughter, however, I wasn't in trouble as I was the victim and simply defended myself. But word on the street was that I was going to be beaten up next time I was in town and crossed paths with the other girl and her friend.
When my father heard the word, he decided I needed to know how to fight for real. As he was showing me how to make fist and where to punch first, I said, "Dad! Do you really think I can beat her up?"
"No, honey. She's gonna kill you," he said. "But I want you to get in at least one good punch."
(The second fight never happened. But I was ready with that one good punch.)
Flash forward to Alison's losing season.
The girls were starting to gel when the best player broke her ankle. Jeff was beside himself. But he didn't give up. He did some research, came up with new plays and flat-out told the girls to use their butts to get positioned.
The next game, Alison nearly fouled out and I'd never seen him more proud of her. He was going on and on about how aggressive Ali was and how the some of the other girls were coming along, too, and how this one had great promise and that one could do this when she put her mind to it.
"Do you think they can win?" I asked.
"Nah. They're gonna get killed," he said. "But they're trying. That's the important thing."