At the age of three, one morning he announced that he had "poisonchitis", a rare disorder that was a mix of poison ivy and bronchitis. Surely that was enough to keep him home.
For most of his fifteen years, he used his vivid imagination to satisfy his desire to avoid institutions of education.
Some days, in an effort to avoid the inevitable, he'd run away from me on the way to the car - and I'd find him lurking under a nearby pine tree, in the midst of a major meltdown. Other times, he'd lie down in the middle of the street, hoping to be run over.
Though we never discussed it, I think he was overjoyed to find out that he could be suspended from school. He certainly was good at it (from third grade on).
In Kentucky, he'd lock the car door so the teacher couldn't get him out at the curb. And once I got the car unlocked, and he got out, he'd yell and scream and kick the car in frustration. And I had to look at the faces of upset children and disgusted parents. Great way to start my commute to work.
And there's nothing like a phone call from the principal to ruin your concentration on the job. He became an 'eloper' - a flight risk. He'd leave the building (and school property), and have to be located and led back into the building.
After he'd arrive at school, he'd get in trouble and ask the teacher to call me to pick him up. Or he'd fake a bout of intestinal illness and con the school nurse (earlier THIS YEAR).
As a middle school student, he even licked a frozen stop sign pole (ala the boy in The Christmas Story movie), and ran home from the bus stop, blood cascading down his chin. I gave him a paper towel and a drink of water and sent him back out into the cold. If you guessed that the school called me about his tongue, you'd be right. I'm sure they wanted to report me to the authorities for that.
He just didn't like school...
Until now. The Boy was on Spring break last week (and was legitimately sick four days the previous week).
He was jonesing to go to school. He asked me to verify that Spring break did, in fact, last all week.
Pinch me, I must be dreaming.
His lucky day came yesterday. He had missed his friends. He had missed the building. He said he had a good day, and that one friend even said he missed him.
When I got home from work, he told me that he'd rather be at school than at home with me.
I know I should probably feel hurt by his admission, but I see it as proof positive that we're on the right track.
Let's hope the forecasters are wrong, and school remains in session.
Here's to many more days that The Boy is eager to head to school.