Parents’ Day

Ten-year-old Brian trudged into his house and dropped his backpack on the ground with a loud THUD.

That startled his Aunt Erika, who was making dinner. She quickly came into the living room, wiping her hands on a dishtowel. Aunt Erika took one look at Brian’s face and asked, “What’s wrong? Did anything happen at school today?”

Brian shrugged.

“Come on, Brian, I can tell when something is bothering you.”

Brian reached into his backpack and handed his aunt a crumpled-up of paper. She smoothed it out and read out loud: “Next Monday is our school’s Parents Day. Your moms and dads are invited to visit our classroom, talk about their jobs, and eat free pizza.” Aunt Erika smiled. “Free pizza! That sounds pretty good.”

“But it’s Parents’ Day,” Brian responded, unhappily. “That means Moms and Dads. And I don’t have a Mom or Dad. I love you but you’re my aunt, and Marie is your wife.”

Aunt Erika paused. “Well, I think this note includes a little mistake. What it should say is, ‘Family Day.’ You know that the people who take care of you can be anyone—not just your mother or father.”

Marie, who was standing in the doorway, joined the conversation. “Brian, do you remember when we read that “All Kinds of Families” book? Remember how it said that some kids grow up in two-parent families while others grow up with only a mom or dad? Some kids are adopted. Some are raised by a foster parent, a step-parent, or a godparent. Some kids are raised by their siblings.”

“Yeah, I remember that,” Brian said, quietly. “But this is about my class, and I don’t want to be different from all the other kids.”

“Hmmm,” Aunt Erika answered. “Let’s try an experiment. Think about your classmates. Do all of them have a mom and a dad?”

Brian was quiet for a moment. “Well, I know that Kiese lives with his grandmother,” he responded. “And Jess told me that she lives with her older sister.” He stopped to think. “I wonder if they’ll come on Monday.”

“Do you think Keise and Jess would want them to come?” Marie asked.

“For sure. Otherwise they’d be all alone on Parents Day. That would be sad.”

“And…. ?” asked Aunt Erika. Brian was quiet. She waited.

“And I want my family there, too,” Brian finally said. “Can both of you come on Monday?”

“Of course!” Aunt Erika and Marie said at the exact same moment. It sounded as if they were singing in a chorus.

With a big smile, Aunt Erika added, “And you know, Brian, we never turn down pizza!”