Of all my parents’ visits to my elementary school back in Los Angeles, I remember one. An open house. The teacher gloated about how polite I was, what a good student. My father and mother beamed and I felt good and better when I was allowed to bolt out to the yard with my friends, to see them at night. It cast a new perspective on our school, Brentwood Elementary. We ran and ran and laughed and laughed until we had to go home.
My eldest daughter had her first open house in Buenos Aires. The whole elementary school – teachers, the principal and kids, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles – arrived for a giant barbeque of hamburgers and choripanes and tables filled with empanadas and cakes and big tubs full of cold drinks.
The kids ran and ran and laughed and laughed. This was their turf and we were visitors. “I can go anywhere I want. This is my school,” my six-year-old told me on the way over, with her 18-month-old sister along for the party.
Other parents were given the same directive.
And a party it was, quite out of control except for one thing. The kids seem to love their school and respect each other.
They are riding skateboards, hopping down stairs, some landing and others falling. A mosh pit has formed as a band of 12 year olds plays a fast song, heavy on the bass. My littlest girl is grooving and spinning in circles. And I think this school is pretty cool.
Then a soccer ball comes whirling out of a seemingly hundred-on-hundred game and hits the littlest on the head. She falls over and screams and I think that maybe this is getting out of control. The kids run up to see how she’s doing and look at her teary face and tell her she scored a golazo – a great goal – and that she can be on their team. “No, mine,” says another. The littlest one stops crying and smiles at them and then buries her head in my shoulder and the kids run off to play and I think, I like this school.