April fools has always been one of my favorite holidays, if you can call it that. I’ve had more fun on this day than any Christmas that I can remember to date.
When my daughter was in High School, around 1998, I thought that I would never see her graduate. It was a fight all the time about homework and grades. Then one day while driving her to school she turned to me and said:
“Mom, thank you so much for pushing me so hard. I can really appreciate your message and ever since I have been trying harder I understand that it isn’t so hard. I can do the work and I like it too. I can see that my education is the most important aspect of my life right now.”
My smile grew more as the she ended her statement. My chest blew up with pride. I would have cried, but I’m no sap. Just then she added
“April fools! I hate school and I hope I never have to go again. When I get out of High School I’m never going back to school for anything. I’m going to marry a rapper and live better than you do.”
Now I loved April fools because I was the one who played others for a fool. I didn’t like being fooled, especially by a high school brat. I drove her to school as she laughed all the way there and I gnashed my teeth. I had to get back at her somehow. It had been a tough year with Maria, who was headstrong and determined not to do it my way.
I went home and drafted a letter from a Florida Boarding school. I designed the letter head and began my own joke.
The letter read that Maria had been chosen to participate in a week-end at the school and was chosen to compete for a scholarship geared at Hispanic-American students. The letter explained a grueling week-end schedule which reminded the recipient to make sure to pack formal evening wear because the school would host a dance with the local Military School boys.
That night, I took Maria out to dinner with her friend. Once she was enjoying her meal, I handed her the wonderful letter. I watched anxiously as she opened the invitation to a week-end of hell for any teenager. She crumbled up the letter and threw it to one side. I picked it up and asked what it was. I pretended to read it and with as much excitement as I could muster up I told her this was the opportunity of a life time.
“I’m not going.” She insisted.
“You are going. You will never get this opportunity again to have a great education.” I ranted
“We’ll go shopping for an evening gown tomorrow.” I added.
“No! I hate you.” She said as she began to cry.
“Oh you hate me now, but you will thank me for this later, I promise.” I told her as she banged her head against the table, embarrassing us all. People were starting to stare as if I was torturing her. I knew she wouldn’t eat what was left so I had it boxed up to take home. I let her suffer until we got home and I got my turn.
“April Fools!” I said opening her bedroom door and handing her the boxed dinner that she couldn’t eat due to her anger of having to spend a week-end at a boarding school.
She looked up with tears still rolling down her cheeks. She wanted to smile, I could tell, but she wasn’t about to let me see that.
See April fools may not have been so much fun on that day, but today, fourteen years later, we can both laugh together. Laugh at one another and ourselves.