You’re Staying After School on a Friday?

I don’t recognize the boy who came home from high school yesterday. I mean, he LOOKS like Dylan, but he sure isn’t acting like Dylan.

Every day this week, he’s come home and put his stuff away. He hasn’t whined or complained or rolled on the floor moaning about his long day. THAT is the Dylan I remember.

In fact, and instead, he has come home every day this week with a new resolve: DO WELL IN SCHOOL.

Yesterday after school, I picked him up from frisbee practice. On the way home – totally unprovoked – Dylan said, “I’m going to spend lunch with my Spanish teacher tomorrow. And I’m going to stay after school working on Government, if that’s okay with you.”

“You’re staying after school on a Friday?” I asked, a bit stunned.

“Yeah, if that’s okay.”

“Sure,” I said. “Just let me know when you’re done and I’ll come and get you.”

Then we got home. He took a few minutes to text his friends or whatever. Then he said, “When’s dinner?”

“About half an hour,” I said.

“All right,” Dylan said. He was standing in the doorway with his binder. “I’m just going to do the stuff I have to do now, and study after dinner.”

“Study what?”

“My Spanish test!” he exclaimed, as if I had a clue. Then he galloped upstairs and … well, he actually did his work.

For years, I have been asking him the same question: “Do you have any homework?”

And for years, I have been getting the same answer: “I don’t really have anything to do tonight.”

This week, I haven’t said anything about homework. Except last night, I said this: “I’m so proud of you, Dylan.”


“Because you’re working so hard on your school work! You are really giving it a solid effort – and you should be really proud of yourself!”

He seemed surprised. “Well I have a reason now,” he said.

“A reason for what?”

“A reason to do this stuff.”

“What’s your reason?” I asked, genuinely interested – and a bit afraid.

“I always wanted to just do music,” he said. “But now I want to do good in school, too.”

“Oh, okay,” I said. “Well, you’re doing a great job. I’m really impressed.”

And then I left him alone to finish putting away his laundry, which I hadn’t even asked him to do.

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