I will admit to being partial to the girls over the boys. With a few notable exceptions, they just have more going on. There is that girl on the left who stands perpetually with her arms crossed. She was born the oldest, destined to be 30 and disapproving. There is the blond in the ponytail who just. feels. pretty. There is a girl on the top tier who would be shouting, "look at me!!!" if she thought she could get away with it, and one near the middle who is thinking about her clothes and barely moves her lips.
There are a few boys with a jaunty spirit, or clownish attitude, but mostly I just can't tell by the blank stares what is going on in those little heads. Perhaps it is because I myself am female, and have only a daughter. My husband assures me that mostly they are thinking about sports.
"All the time?" surely not!
"Pretty much," he assures me.
Better to be a girl.
My own daughter walks on to the stage with only self-consciousness on her face. She wears it like a responsibility. She faces the audience, visibly calms herself, and looks for me. Then she smiles, and I am grinning back at her, staring at my beautiful daughter as if it would save my life. She like me best at times like this. Only when looking at me is it safe to smile. I spare a glance for the rest of her class. I see her not-so-secret crush. He is looking dapper in a button down shirt with the collar askew. I know that she has noticed. Her best friend is beside her, in a similar sundress and sandals. I am sure that this was planned. They look like summer standing there, all golden and pink.
I wonder briefly if any other the other parents feel the way I do, that we are privy to some crowd of intimate secrets. But then my daughter smiles at me, and that is all that matters.