My cell phone rings while I’m at work, and it’s my son’s school calling. This cannot be good. My mind goes straight to what sort of injury he has suffered, or what ridiculous prank he’s pulled that has landed him in the principal’s office. So I answer the call with hesitation in my voice.
“Ladye, this is Gayla (the principal—yeah, we’re on a first-name basis if that tells you anything). I just called to let you know that Brylan has made my day.”
“Oh dear Lord, I am so glad to hear you say that you are calling for a good reason,” I say, relieved.
The principal proceeds to tell me, obviously holding back laughter, that the faculty has discovered a dead squirrel in my son’s backpack.
Please pause here to imagine my horror. To say I am embarrassed is an understatement. I. Am. Mortified. A dead squirrel? Why is it in his backpack? How did the squirrel die? And WHY in the world would he try to keep this dead animal in his backpack?
When asked by the principal what possessed him to pick up a dead squirrel and store it in his backpack, my son replies with, “I really wanted squirrel dumplings for dinner.” She then asks me if I actually want the squirrel to come home with him. Ya’ll, I had to explain that we are from the country, but we are not THAT country!
Gayla asks permission to send me a photo, because “it looks so peaceful lying there in his bag”. I hate how right she is, because the poor little guy really is cute. And dead. And crawling with bugs. And in my son’s backpack. Oh, may I also point out that this is the $50 Pottery Barn backpack with his name embroidered that I splurged on just two months ago?
When I see Brylan three hours later he is still fighting tears, apologizing profusely. “Mom I’m so sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking.” I ask him if he’s learned his lesson, smile, and let him know that he gets a free pass on this one. I can’t even be mad at this point. He has made the principal’s day, after all.
I think after all of this the kid may darn well deserve some squirrel dumplings—although someone else will have to cook them for him because THIS mama will never!