I was talking to a friend (who happens to be a nun) today. She asked me how I was feeling and I responded with an overly enthusiastic, “Great!” “Oh come on”, she replied, “you’re lying to me!”
“I would never lie to a nun!”, I quickly responded. “Welllll . .there was this one time . . . . . . back in grade school when I did.”
I think I was in about fifth grade or so and I was a safety in the kindergarten classroom. I got that position because I was responsible and I did all my work and I had good grades. I was a role model for my peers. As long as I maintained my grades and did what I needed to do to stay out of trouble, I could hold that safety position for the entire year.
I loved that job! I loved being around younger kids and I loved visiting their classroom everyday and playing games or coloring with them or helping them with their letters and numbers. I had a few special friends who I especially enjoyed helping. They looked forward to me coming each day and I loved thinking I was a pretty important “big person” to them.
Spelling and journal writing were at the end of my day. As soon as I finished my work in those two subjects, I could pack my books to go home and head off to the kindergarten room. Because I was much more interested in getting to my younger friends, you can guess that I rushed through my work each day and scurried off to do what I much preferred to be doing.
Each Friday afternoon, we had the typical Spelling test. And this one Friday I happened to fail my test. I never failed. My parents were real sticklers about school and studying, but I was also a naturally good speller. Failing my spelling test meant not only the punishment and lecture that would ensue at home, but also put my beloved safety job in jeopardy.
I thought about that spelling test all weekend. If I showed my mom the test, I knew my bike would be held captive in the garage, television would be even more limited than it already was, and . . . . . my safety job would be taken away until I could prove I was ready for the responsibility again.
So I forged my mom’s signature. She had really basic and neat handwriting and it was fairly simple to do. “Sister Mary” would never notice . . .as long as she saw something in the corner, it would pass for a legit signature.
Monday rolled around and the tests were collected. While we sat and did some math problems at our seats, I secretly watched Sister flip through the papers and file them in our folders. The day went by and nothing was said to me. I did it! She never noticed the fake signature!
Until . . . .we were on our way to music class at the end of the day. Sister pulled me out of line right as we got to the studio. “I noticed the signature on your spelling paper, was that your mom who signed your test?”
“Yes, Sister!”, I answered, probably too quickly.
“So if we go call your mom right now, she’ll tell me that she was the one who signed your test?”
“Yes, Sister!” Now I was breaking a sweat. Not only had I forged the signature, but I was lying to a nun.
Next thing I knew we were walking to the office. Sister turned to me as she picked up the receiver of the phone, “Are you sure your mom is going to tell me she signed this test? I would hate to call her and find out something different.”
“She signed the test, Sister.”
And Sister dialed the phone. It was so quiet, I could hear not only my own breathing, but also the phone on the other end ringing. My mom always picked up on the second ring . . . .five rings later and no answer.
Sister finally hung up. I was brought back to the music studio. The day ended without another word about the test. I got home and my mom never said anything. And the next day, I packed my books at the end of the day and headed off to my safety position.
Now, more than thirty years later, here I am finally confessing to a nun friend that I lied to a nun just because I wanted to keep my safety position. I still haven’t ever told my mom that story either.
She was a tough love kind of mom. Maybe I still fear she’ll tell me my bike is off limits for a week. Or perhaps I’m really afraid I’ll have to go a whole week without being able to watch Chopped on the Food Network.
Do me a favor, Internets, and let’s just keep this little tidbit between you, me, and cyber space. MMMMMM – kay?? 😉