There’s nothing quite like your child’s first day at school. Even though you may have sent your kid off to daycare or the grandparents or left him with a babysitter from time to time, that first drop off at school is different. Parents worry and cry and take pictures. I can’t recall ever hearing about that type of behavior when parents finally drop the rugrats with a babysitter so they can go out and see a movie for the first time in five years!
Spike, being a normal kid with more or less normal parents, was all set for a fairly normal first day at school…until the phone rang the week before that all important nest leaving day.
“Mr. Parrent? This is Julie Fertig from News 14 Carolina in Raleigh. I’ve been hearing some stories about Spike and wonder if you’d be willing to have us film him and tell his story?”
Julie had heard about Spike from a former colleague at the Cleveland Clinic. The media department there had called me several weeks earlier and asked if they could feature Spike in a video they were producing to inform people about epilepsy and the treatments available for particularly tough cases. Cleveland had shot some video of Spike before his operation in November. Apparently the combination of his (genetically predetermined) photogenic quality and the way his recovery had progressed made him the ideal subject for the documentary. Naturally, word leaked out, setting off a media feeding frenzy and everyone suddenly wanted to interview the Miracle Boy.
Apparently the phone lines were jammed so only News 14 Carolina was able to get through. Spike’s agent will have to deal with all of the other requests.
I mentioned that Spike was scheduled to start school the following week and the reporter immediately asked if she could tag along.
What’s a dad to say?
While other kids had snapshots taken with phone cameras, Spike went a bit larger.
Just like any five year old, he carefully loaded his backpack…
Walked up the hill to school…
And found his way around the classroom for the first time.
The best part of his “performance” was the natural acting ability he displayed. Once tape started rolling (or digits started flipping or whatever happens in cameras these days), Spike completely ignored the cameraman. His classmates likewise gave no indication they even noticed the guy with a big camera and a reporter asking questions. They probably felt sorry for Spike since his family apparently couldn’t afford a cool little smartphone with built in camera and had to use a big old clunky camera instead.
Most importantly, Spike’s first day at school went extremely well. He loved every minute of it and has been excited about going back every day. That’s incredible given that nine months ago I couldn’t imagine him ever being healthy enough to sit through a school day, much less one in a normal school without aides watching his every move.
Over the last several months, Spike has been to New York twice (loving every minute of it), learned the fundamentals of swimming, dramatically improved his writing and drawing skills, fallen hard on his head and gotten back up again to run off and play some more. Normal. Blissfully normal.
Sometimes, normal is just unusual enough to justify a few paparazzi.
Part one of the the local two part story can be seen at: