Evan was nervous. He was due to present a big project at school, one he'd worked on all year long. As we were driving to school, he wanted to make sure that I understood what my role was in all of this.
"Mom, don't forget... you have to be at school no later than 10:00."
"Why do I have to come so early? Isn't your presentation at 10:30?"
"Yes, but I don't want you to be late."
"I won't be late."
"Are you sure? Because sometimes you are, and it's really distracting when someone walks in during the middle of your presentation."
How dare he call me out about my chronic tardiness. Besides, every time I'm late, there's a good reason for it. Some days the hair just doesn't cooperate in the morning, know what I mean?
"I promise I won't be late. I'll make sure I'm there by 10:15." I'll show him I can be on time. I made a mental note to leave home an hour early, just in case.
"Oh, and don't talk during my presentation."
"Evan! I'm not going to talk during your presentation. I do know how to behave, you know."
"Well, I'm just saying that because this other kid's grandparents talked all the way through her presentation. They were really loud. I felt so bad for her. I would just die if you talked through mine."
"I won't talk through your presentation, or anyone else's."
"OK. Oh yeah...no Words with Friends either."
Great. Now he's accusing me of being Alec Baldwin and playing Words with Friends at inappropriate times.
"Evan, I'm not going to play Words with Friends during your presentation. "
"Yeah, but your phone...it makes that sound whenever it's your move. You'd better turn that off. I don't want any cell phones to interrupt me when I'm speaking. Make sure Dad turns his off, too. I just know he'll forget and someone will call him."
"I will turn my phone off and remind Dad to turn his off, too. Is there anything else we need to know in order to not embarrass you?"
While I've lived through being an embarrassment to my older children before and secretly enjoyed it (hey, this parenting gig doesn't have many perks so you've got to take them as you find them,) Evan's concern about my behavior stung a bit. How many times do I actually embarrass him? Is this the first step toward "just-drop-me-off-at-the-corner-Mom-I-don't-want-my-friends-to-see-you?"
As we pulled in to the school parking lot, I decided to just come right out and ask Evan the obvious question. "Should Dad and I just stay home and skip your presentation altogether?" I hoped my expression didn't reveal how heartbroken I'd be if he said yes.
"No! I want you there. I'm glad you're coming." He opened the car door to get out and shot me a look suggesting that I'd better not make him sorry he said that.
So I will go there today. I will arrive on time, with my cell phone silenced, and will remind my husband to do the same. I will not talk during the presentation and will avoid Words with Friends, even if I do see a tempting seven-letter word among my letters.
Too bad Evan never said anything about nose-picking.