Lorrie came into the den and handed me the composition she’d received back from her substitute teacher today. Lorrie’s regular teacher was out on maternity leave, and Mrs. Carlson was finishing out the school year for her.
There was a note attached to the composition, addressed to “the parents of Lorie Walter.” The paper, itself, bore a “C-“ in red ink at the top of the first page. Lorrie was angry.
If there is one thing my daughter is good at, it’s compositions. She typically receives the highest grades for her efforts. She has also won state writing contests for the past two years on a row. So you can imagine how disappointed with her grade she was.
I gave Lorrie a hug and promised that Lex and I would look it over and discuss it with her teacher. She hugged me back and whispered, “Kick her ass, mom,” before she went outside to take care of her chores.
“Lorrie!” It was hard to scold my daughter when her mother was thinking the same thing. Once Lorrie was out the door, I made myself a cup of tea and sat at the kitchen table and began to read.
“My Best Day, by Lorrie Walters.” I was surprised to see all the red marks and comments. For example, where Lorrie had referred to her sister, “Mel”, her teacher had crossed out sister and written, “brother.” Lorrie mentioned how her sister loved to play dress-up, and on her best day, Mel had dressed up like a princess. Then Lorrie mentioned her baby brother and how the only thing she didn’t like about him was when he messed his diaper.
Red marks were everywhere. “If Mel is old enough to dress himself, why would you say he soils his diapers? And why does your brother wear a dress?”
“Huh?” I reread what Lorrie wrote and then what her teacher had written.
“You keep referring to your father, Lexington, as ‘mom’. What? Is your father one of those men who like to dress up like women? Are you confused about which parent is your mother and which is your father?”
I heard the back door bang as Lex stomped into the mud room. She called for me and no sooner had she taken her boots off than she stomped into the kitchen, fit to be tied. Apparently, Lorrie had caught her up on the events of the day.
“Sit.” I got her seated at the table and poured a large glass of iced tea for her. I showed her the composition, and then she read the teacher’s note.
“Mr. and Mrs. Walter?” Lex shook her head in disbelief and read the remainder of the note. “Needs counseling regarding gender identification.” She continued to read. “Imagines she has a horse but won’t give its name. Keeps saying ‘Mine’.” Lex read further. “Needs encouragement to pursue a normal life because she wants to run a ranch when she is grown.”
“Martha is on her way, honey.” I grabbed my purse and Lex went back to the mud room to put her boots back on. Then I handed her the package I’d assembled for her. “Deeds to our properties. Family pictures. Cattle counts.”
I didn’t know who to feel sorrier for. Although Lorrie was disappointed with her grade, her teacher was going to feel a lot worse once we got done with her. I opened my cell phone and punched in the number that the teacher had written on the note. “Mrs. Carlson? This is Lorrie’s mom, Amanda. Lex and I are on our way into town and should be at the school in twenty minutes. Good. Well we’ll see you then. Thanks.”
Lex took one more look at the composition as we climbed into her truck and sighed. “She corrected Lorrie’s name? Good grief!”