I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is that Younger Son took 4th place in a regional spelling bee. I was surprised when one of Younger Son’s teachers told Hubby and me at a football game that Younger Son was going to participate in the spelling bee. Don’t get me wrong. I love my son and all, but I’m not blind to the fact that he is a less-than-stellar speller. So I had to wonder how in the world he managed to get selected. Still, the event was several weeks away and we had more pressing matters to deal with, like football games. We paid the $15.00 entry fee and forgot about it.

That is until we received the emails last week with the particulars as to where and when the spelling bee would take place, how the participants were to dress, and other important information. Since I am retired, I thought I would finally be able to see Younger Son perform. I asked Younger Son if he had been studying his word list. Typical to form, he didn’t know where the list was.

I emailed the teacher and received a thirty-eight-page document with several columns of words in small print on each page. Altogether, there were 4000 words like achondroplasia and machicolation. Okay, so my determination to drill Younger Son prior to the event might not work out as planned. I handed him the list and told him to look through the words. He left the list lying on the dining room table for the rest of the week. The night before the spelling bee, we asked him to make sure he had a clean school uniform to wear. We even asked to see it to verify that he did, indeed, have the requisite attire. Of course, he never showed it to us. The morning of the spelling bee, we made it all the way to the car before I realized he didn’t have a belt. He informed me they didn’t have to wear belts anymore. I didn’t believe him, so Hubby and I spent a frantic few minutes scrounging up a belt. Imagine my surprise when we got to the venue at Crosspoint Church and I discovered Younger Son actually did know what he was talking about. He immediately untucked his shirt.

The kids were registered and whisked away. Not knowing where to go, I followed several other parents into the sanctuary, where I perused Facebook until time to start. Younger Son’s group was scheduled to go first at 8:00, so I was a little confused when the door opened and several small children were led into the sanctuary. Hmm, I thought. They must have switched the schedule. Hopefully, Younger Son’s group will be next. I sat watching a bunch of kids I didn’t know sweat bullets over words like big. After about thirty minutes, when half the kids had been eliminated, my phone buzzed with a call from Younger Son telling me he was finished.

I walked out of the sanctuary into the hallway.

“What do you mean you’re finished?” I demanded.

“We’re all done,” he repeated.

“What? Where were you? I didn’t get to see your part!” And for this, I drug myself out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, sat for thirty minutes until time to start, and then watched a bunch of kids I didn’t know?

Still seething, I told him to meet me at the car.

“Well, how did you do?” I asked when he appeared.

“I got my practice word right but missed the first word,” he said.

I rolled my eyes where he couldn’t see. Or maybe he could. I’m sure he’s used to my eye rolls. “Just how did you manage to get chosen for this spelling bee?”

“We got a 100 on an English quiz if we volunteered,” he said.

Okay, that explained a lot. For a 100 on a quiz and being able to miss the first period of school Younger Son would sell his own mother into slavery.

The good news is Younger Son took 4th place. The bad news is there were only four participants.