It was the end of the day. The end of the week. Yeehah! I stood at the school gates with a girlfriend collecting little travellers as they escaped to freedom. I'd retrieved the fourth, spotted the second, and knew the first was making her way over from the middle school. Eventually the third arrived, with his teacher.
"I'm staging an intervention" she said.
I was perplexed, was my nine year old an alcoholic or a meth addict? Shouldn't there be more of us? Where were the cameras? Where was Dr Phil?
"He's been great this week, we've seen great improvement, no complaints".
The third traveller beamed. He's currently on a reward system. He's been pulled up for some heinous crimes of late - getting out of his chair without permission, and not raising his hand to ask a question. He's a talker, and his two best buddies are in his class. This week was filled with apology letters and think sheets. The third little traveller is introducing us to a whole new side of the school we never knew existed. Think Sheet. Who knew? His latest apology letter regarding his inability to stop talking to his mates, ended with a sincere "this will never happen again".
"Are you sure about that darls? That's a big promise. Maybe you should say 'I'll try very hard to not let it happen again', you might be setting yourself up for a fall there"
"No Mum, I'm really going to do it this time, I'm not going to speak at all in class, not a word".
I imagined my mute son. For about two seconds.
"You need to go with him now and look at his locker." the teacher was staring me in the eyes, she was smiling but she was deadly serious.
The words "yes Mam" were swimming around in my head. It was 1985 and I was going to get sent to the vice principal if I didn't hurry up and get to class.
I wondered what we going to find during our intervention. What was in the locker. Is this where he kept his stash? Was I about to discover some clandestine chemistry set up, or a budding plant. Is that why we were going through so many zip lock sandwich bags? Where were the kitchen scales?
I looked at the faces of the other three travellers. We were only metres from the school gate. A few steps away from the beginning of the weekend. So close.
"I have to go, I have a parent conference to go to" and she was gone. She obviously wasn't a part of the intervention, it was just going to be me and the other little travellers.
"I gather your teacher is telling me your locker is a mess?"
The third traveller's eyes immediately looked to the ground, he shuffled uncomfortably.
I thought about the teachers face, her very clear instructions. "You need to go and look at his locker".
Was that my job? Was I now responsible for checking my children's lockers each week to make sure they were keeping them clean? In the world of helicopter parenting someone had just handed me the keys to the chopper and given me my first mission. I'm not sure my mother ever saw my school locker, I wondered if they would have rang her at the office and asked her to come in and take a look at it?
I looked at the other three travellers, this had nothing to do with them.
"It's your locker mate. You need to clean it up. I'll bring you in early after the weekend and you can do it before school"
I left the keys to the chopper at the school gates as we left.
What do you think? Should I have gone and ultimately helped him clean his locker?