My dear friend Erin gave me a spa gift card for my thirtieth birthday, and yesterday after a few months of to-ing and fro-ing with our busy schedules (*cough* her busy schedule) we finally managed to make it happen. Although I was (and am) still fighting the dregs of the nastiness Trevor passed on to me, I decided I would certainly prefer fighting it while having my feet and hands massaged than at home chasing after little ones.
Oh, it was lovely! I do love a good pedicure (incidentally, I’ve only had three in my life, and always under similar circumstances to these), and they left us in the foot spa for such a nice long time, long enough to catch up on the last six months of our lives and laugh over old times. It was just perfect.
Things took an interesting turn during our manicure when Erin asked me when Pippa woud be starting kindergarten. “Next September,” I told her, “but we’re still playing around with the idea of homeschooling .” At this point, Erin’s manicurist really, umm… came out of her shell.
“Can I ask why you would think about doing that?” she said.
“Okay, wow,” I said, laughing a little. “I feel like I’m being interviewed.”
Things were still feeling fairly light and breezy at this point, so I thought I’d try just dodging.
“Well, we’re really still just thinking about it at this point.”
“Yeah,” she said (the manicurist, remember, whom I had just met about twenty minutes earlier.) “But why? I just don’t understand why people want to do it.”
“Well, I used to be a teacher, and I guess I just would really love to be the one to teach her to read and add, and, you know, all the really big stuff. I’d just really love to be her first teacher.” An innocuous enough answer, I thought. Nothing preachy or militant about that, right? That ought to satisfy her.
“But you already are her first teacher, and what about the socialization thing?”
I think, at this point, I might have gotten a little bit defensive. I mean, I’m not *at all* sure that we are going to homeschool, but I have a ton of admiration for people who do, and plenty of friends who were homeschooled themselves, so “the socialization thing”? Thems fightin’ words.
“Oh, the whole socialization things gets totally blown out of proportion,” I told her. “There is such a good network nowadays of homeschool families that organize social activities. Plus they are with their moms all day so the actually get to be out in the real world interacting with people of all ages, rather than just being at school with kids exactly the same age as them all day, so it’s just a different kind of socialization. Plus they always have the option of taking a class or two at public school if they want, it doesn’t have to be all one or the other. There really isn’t as much of a socialization issue as everyone acts like there is.”
Yes, I did. I said all that to a manicurist. It wasn’t my finest moment. But she still wasn’t done!
“But what about in high school? I mean, parents just aren’t qualified to teach every subject. And how on earth are they ever ready for college?”
Alright. You want to fight?
“By the time they get to high school they know how to teach themsleves,” I explained to her. “They know how to pick up a textbook and read it and practice it and learn it, so they are very prepared for college where that’s exactly what you have to do most of the time.”
“But what about kids with learning disabilities?” she persisted.
Okay, really? I just want to have my nails painted here and talk to my friend whom I haven’t seen in forever. Can’t we be done now? Please?
“I’m not saying it’s for every family, and I’m not saying we’re definitely going to do it. We’re just *thinking* about it,” I said. I don’t remember exactly how it ended. Maybe Erin rescued me at some point? Maybe this was when I made my lame attempt to chat with my manicurist? (“How do you manage to keep your nails painted so nicely when you use nail polish remover all day long?”) But that was pretty much the end of it, and things went back to being light and breezy, and we were not escorted off the premises. Whew!
We were then taken to a very tranquil little seating area to admire our hands and feet, sip water from champagne glasses, and discuss what had just taken place. Honestly, I felt like it could not have been any worse if I had casually dropped into conversation that I was taking my three-year-old to get a tattoo. I am still recovering a little.
We went on to have a late lunch at an adorable little cafe nearby (Erin treated, “for my birthday”, which was in October), and then we picked out the biggest chocolatiest slice of cake they had to take back to Erin’s house. There we sipped coffee (black and sweet, like the good old days when we had no fridge of our own to keep milk in), ate way too much cake, and looked at pictures of our “hometown” Edinburgh from her recent trip with her sisters.
(We were so excited about our complimentary Shania flip-flops that we wore them to lunch.)
It occured to me on the way home that a picture of our faces might have been nice too. But you’ll just have to settle for one of us in our beloved Edinburgh, where we first met ten years ago. We still pretty much look like this. Only way better now, of course.
It was just a lovely day, and we shall have to do it again soon. Thank you, friend!