Last night as I was making dinner, Kinley was sitting at the kitchen counter. As I was stuffing basil (homegrown!) under the skin of the chicken (local, organic from Thistle Byre Farm!), Kinley asked, "Mom, am I your favorite student?"
Oh dear. I had already spent countless hours preparing my answer to this question for wary fellow parents who might be concerned that I would cut Kinley an undue amount of slack in the classroom or offer her extra homework help after school. (My first line of defense, by the way, is to share this blog!) I hadn't even thought about the possibility that SHE might be the first to ask this question at all!
Other potential questions, however, I was prepared to handle.
Her: "What's going to be on the economics test tomorrow?"
Me: "Check your notes."
Her: "Why are you so much harder on me?"
Me: "I know that you know the rules and have the capacity to follow them. Plus, I expect you to be an example to others."
Her: "What did Maddie make on her test?"
Me: "None of your beeswax."
But this one? Geesh.
As the long silence that blanketed our kitchen grew even thicker, I thought about our first 19 days of school. I thought about how she'd already cried in class three times. About how she had been so goofy, so giggly, so annoyingly nine years old when she made a group presentation for Junior Achievement. About how when asked at Morning Meeting what she'd do to bring peace to the world, she'd replied, "Marry a President." About how she got so frustrated when she couldn't immediately figure out how much 100 hundreds is, but then pushed herself on her own after school to figure out 10,000 hundreds. About how she wrote "I love you, Mom," at the top of her spelling paper. About how her favorite mornings are Tuesdays and Thursdays because she gets to ride to school with me.
And I turned to her and said, "Yes, Kinley. Yes you are."