For this Monday Morning Memory, I will recount my most traumatic memory from second grade, possibly from all of elementary school. Like most of my pre-adult traumas, the entire situation is blown out of proportion and largely my own fault. My teacher was Mrs. Noonan. My mom had written a note to excuse me from gym class - I had a little bit of a sore throat and a lotta bit of not wanting to do whatever activity was going on that day in gym class. I gave the note to Mrs. Noonan and she told me to remind her about it as we left for P.E., because she'd probably forget. We line up for P.E., and Mrs. Noonan seems to have forgotten. Here's my big moment. I'm standing in line, desperately hoping Mrs. Noonan remembers, knowing that I'm supposed to speak up and remind her. Anything involving "speaking up" was not possible for me at eight years old. So I walk to the gym with my class, knowing that the P.E. teacher (Mrs. Sychee) is expecting me to participate.
During that long walk to the gym, I grow increasingly anxious over my situation. What if Mrs. Sychee realizes I'm not in my gym shoes!? (Unlike my non-gym sneakers, my gym shoes had WHITE laces.) If I just participate, what if Mrs. Noonan realizes she forgot the note? She'll think I wasn't really sick! If I tell Mrs. Sychee the situation, she'll wonder why I didn't remind Mrs. Noonan. If I just say nothing, I'll have to participate in P.E. today! With a small sore throat!
We finally get to the gym and I have a fool-proof plan. See yesterday, one of the girls in the class had to sit out because she twisted her ankle. All I have to do is tell Mrs. Sychee that I hurt my leg (obviously I couldn't say ankle because that would be too obvious), and she'll let me sit out. I don't know why or how, but I was confident that would solve all of my problems.
Turns out saying "my leg hurts and I need to sit out" gets me sent to the nurse's office. Panic begins to set in. I try desperately to come up with some story to get me out of this mess, but by the time I get to the nurse's office, I just burst into tears. I confess everything. I'm sure I make no sense (how do you describe that problem in a way that makes sense?), and the nurse walks me back to my classroom to hand me off to Mrs. Noonan. Exasperated, she asks me why I didn't just remind her? Mrs. Sychee wants to know why I didn't just explain the situation? For the rest of the day, my answer to any question is to simply burst into tears. (This becomes my default coping mechanism for most elementary school "problems." Like that time I forgot my math book. Or the time my book order was delayed. And that time I didn't finish coloring in my worksheet.) Most traumatic day ever.