This morning our son Theo went off to school in shorts and a t-shirt, which has been normal lately even though it’s fall. But today the temperature dropped over 10 degrees. Of course this happened a couple of days after I took Theo for a haircut and he asked the stylist to cut it very short. So, at noon, when it still hadn’t warmed up, I stopped by the school with his hat and his hoodie so that he wouldn’t be cold during lunch break. When I explained to Karina, one of the school administrators (see April 16) that I wanted to give these to Theo, she got on her walkie-talkie.
“Dragon Base to Mr. Aleman. Please come in, Mr. Aleman.”
I grinned at Karina, and she smiled back. How cool that the school office was “Dragon Base.” The school mascot and logo is the dragon, the students are often referred to as dragons, and dragon imagery is used throughout the school’s programming and events. We even named the recycling program we set up a few years back the “Green Dragons.” As I waited for Theo to arrive at the office, the image of dragons sitting in their caves guarding pearls of wisdom floated in my head.
After handing Theo his hat (apparently only his ears were cold), I headed home and carried on with my day of work. At one point I wandered into the garage to get something I needed and spotted Theo’s large green, hand-painted Chinese dragon kite. My husband David had found it and bought it for Theo for Christmas a couple of years ago when Theo was particularly obsessed with dragons. Unfortunately, when I was trying to assemble it (the instructions were useless!), I managed to snap a key section of the bamboo frame in half, so the kite never got a chance to fly. Instead it had sat in our garage unable to fulfill its destiny as a flying dragon. I had an idea. I repaired the frame so that it held its shape, and when I went to pick Theo up after school, I took it to the school office. Karina wasn’t there so, trying hard not to sound too crazy, I explained to one of the school’s academic advisor, Ms. Anh, who I believe is of Vietnamese heritage, that I wanted to give the kite to the school so it could be displayed in the “Dragon Base,” as Karina called the office. She didn’t seem to think I was completely out of my mind and actually agreed that it would look good hanging up in a corner of the office. I left the kite with Ms. Anh, reassuring her that I would be ok with wherever and however they’d like to use it. I then headed off into the school in search of my little, cold-eared dragon.