Once in a blue moon it has to happen: something propels me from bed in the dark to go somewhere at a time I would usually be deeply asleep. Such is what I realized as I put my hand on the door handle at 6-friggin’-30 this morning. Why was I dressed, coat on, backpack in one hand and purse in the other at such a time, and in the winter no less? Basically because I love my son, and he had the fabled literary breakfast at which time a student enrolled in Susan Donnelly’s Advanced English 10 class — held at 0-hour (e.g. a time zone I don’t live in) — must fetch and bring along a special guest. Given my son’s whatever-ways and my poet laureate status, you can guess who got to be his special guest.
I had been a special guest at Natalie’s Literary Breakfast a long time ago, like exactly three years ago, probably the last time I headed to high school quite so early…..and a long, long, long time ago, like six years ago, I had done the same as Daniel’s special guest. Once encased in the warm and well-lit high school library, with special choirs of tenth-graders, musicians doing little violin solos, and plenty of fruit bowls and dancing donuts before me, I had a wonderful time at those events, which was bound to happen again. Yet when I pulled open my front door to walk out, all I could think were two things: 1) Sleep! Especially since said older children actually texted me awake several times the night before right before the cat, then dog, then cat again woke me; and 2) Ms. Donnelly and all other educators who wake up oh-so-early so many days for the sake of our children are Boddhisattvas — enlightened spirits on this earth to help us — in disguise.
Then I walked outside, and to my surprise, the whole dark blue sky was lit a fresher, brighter, cobalt than usual, and there were stars everywhere, more alert than usual (probably because they’ll always up all night), and powerfully gorgeous.
We got in the car, Forest sleeping and me driving (better than other way around), and went. The donuts and fruit bowls, the choir and solo musicians, the warmth and light were all there. 10th-graders held open portfolios to show photos or artfully read from index cards without looking down or just, as in the case of my son, winged it in describing one piece of literature they loved. Some of us drank coffee. All of us smiled and listened to the words of these 15-year-olds on the worlds of literature. And all was good as the stars faded and the sun rose.