The room slowly filled with parents, some nervous, some content, and some high-fiving each other at the thought of being able to take a nap in the middle of the day.



This was kindergarten orientation, which isn’t for the soon-to-be kindergartener. It’s for the parent who will be a quivering mass of tears come August.

The room slowly filled with parents, some nervous, some content, and some high-fiving each other at the thought of being able to take a nap in the middle of the day.

This was kindergarten orientation, which isn’t for the soon-to-be kindergartener. It’s for the parent who will be a quivering mass of tears come August.

I think some parents were almost in tears already because our children were in another room.

“Welcome to the first meeting of the Class of 2023,” the principal said to open the orientation.

Two thousand twenty-three? My mind couldn’t quite wrap itself around that number. By then we could potentially be into the first term of our 47th president, or the first term of Emperor Zod from the planet Krypton. Heck, killer robots from the future might have taken over by then.

The principal said a lot of other things, none of which registered with me. The year 2023 ran through my head, bringing with it milk at $5 a gallon, college tuition equal to the gross domestic income of Brazil, and the horror I’d probably still be driving my 1997 Dodge.

Select teachers led the group of quivering parents, most of us mumbling, into the various kindergarten rooms where we met with our children who didn’t know we’d been gone. We were going to see what a typical kindergarten exercise looked like.

“Who wants to help?” a teacher asked the 5-year-olds, who weren’t paying attention to the parents at all. Though some of us wailed, blew air horns or wore big foam fingers while shouting, “Johnny look at me, Johnny look at me.”

Every little hand in the room went up.

“Pick my kid, pick my kid,” mumbled from the lips of each parent in the room.

“You,” she said, pointing to my son.

Of course she picked my child, I thought toward all the other parents.

“Point to the triangle,” the teacher said, motioning to shapes on a computer screen.

He stood, pointed to the triangle and sat back down.

That’s my boy.

“Who’s next?” she asked and called another child to the front.

“Point to the rhombus.”

I leaned toward my wife.

“What’s a rhombus?” I asked.

She shook her head.

“I don’t know.”

The child walked to the computer screen and pointed at the right shape. Hmm, back in my day that shape was called a diamond. Did all the other shapes decide the diamond was getting too uppity? Yeah, calling it a “rhombus” will take that snooty diamond down a notch.

Then I wondered why my wife and I didn’t know a diamond was called a rhombus and why a 5-year-old did.

Hmm, maybe we should be on the other end of the kindergarten orientation. We might need it.