funny day. a lot of rushing. late coffee. supposed to be 6 degrees, but feels colder. wet.
the bottom of my too-long pants get dirty and soaked. I feel like a teenager with messy cords on.
still, big smiles, lots of giggles.
Tuesdays are lunches at home. I wait for my son.
Moments before the bell rings, the yard is silent. His portable waits to empty of children.
He used to race out to the car, a big smile on his face. Now that he brings a friend home, he and the friend walk slowly, discuss things (wallball? a recent test? girls? SpongeBob?) as they find their way slowly to my car.
It hails in the schoolyard and a torrent of shrieks come from kids of all ages as they run and hold their hands into the air. It feels like panic from a 70s disaster film, Poseidon Adventure or Earthquake.
Or a bunch of Chicken Littles thinking the sky is falling. When the hail is over, so is the shrieking.
Some girls were playing with a styrofoam ball during lunch. It went over the fence.
We spied a woman near her car. She came over and asked, Did we lose something?
We showed her the ball in amidst the wet snow, next to a pile of wet dirt. She looked and shook her head.
“I couldn’t, not in these shoes.”
We all, the kids, me and the woman looked down at her shiny high heels. I told her, Don’t worry. She got in her car and left. The ball sat, abandoned.
The bell rang to end lunch and the girls walked back to their portable, disappointed. I walked around and retrieved the ball and brought it to their class.
I love shoes. But I decided, shoes would never tell me where I can and cannot go.
I dropped my son off at school early this morning. I got out of the car with him. He walked well ahead of me. I watched him put his knapsack by his portable steps. Another boy was there.
This boy has never been in my son’s class before. My son likes hanging out with him. He told me this boy is usually early too.
“Put your hat and mitts on!” I yelled after my son.
I watched them chat as my son put his hat and mitts on. Then they made their way up the stairs and away from me toward the bigger pavement portion. But they moved off the pavement to the walkway, and headed down the hill, still chatting. Then they walked onto the grass.
I thought, They aren’t supposed to be on the grass in the morning. The rule is, Pavement only before the first bell.
I don’t know why.
But as it was early, no teachers were yet on duty. So they walked on the frost-burned grass.
Another student asked me as she passed: “Is that snow or frost?”
I told her: “Frost.”
It was thick frost this morning.
My son and his friend found the frozen trail of water that ran past the soccer posts. He followed his friend and they stepped carefully along, talking still. Then they turned back, toward the soccer posts. They ran their hands up two different frosty posts and then shook their hands/mitts. Water flew off.
They came back up the hill and headed again to their portable. The stair railings were also covered in frost and he and his friend picked a railing each and ran their hands along it. They collected just tiny bits of snow. Miniature snowballs. Then they tried to throw them at each other. The frost melted in the air.
It was busier. Their teacher came.
I watched another teacher show up and immediately reprimand a child that was headed off the pavement, onto the grass.
I don’t think my son and his friend were looking to make trouble. It was all so natural, yet just as I had recognized, they must have also felt: We aren’t supposed to be here.
Way to get away with something, if ever so small.
Good for them.Print
I used a word I shouldn’t have.
I was walking the yard and some girls came to complain about a boy who was bugging them. In an effort to make sure I was thinking of the right boy, I said: “The chubby one?”
I immediately regretted it, explained to the girls that I should not have used the term, apologized, searched for a better term (sturdy?) and moved on.
Yet I sit at home, riddled with guilt.
It is tough living in this time. I suddenly feel the way my Dad must have felt when he called a grown woman a “girl” and I got all in his face.
School is the worst for walking so carefully and then suddenly stepping on a bomb.
Once a teacher asked if I knew of a certain student and I said:
“You mean, the tall black girl?”
I was immediately shushed and told the school does not like labels.
But I wasn’t labeling; I was describing. If I write a story and a person is black, I will write that they are black.
If they are chubby, I will write that they are chubby.
But I’m not stupid. I get it.
Just tell me that I’m allowed to make mistakes. Right?Print
I’ve seen kids do a lot of things. Kids wrestle, giggle, chase each other, dig, hold hands, dance, play soccer, make up stories, act those stories out, run, skip, dawdle.
I’m a potty mouth so when I hear a kid say a swear word, I am not shocked or upset or indignant ie Wash your mouth out! I don’t think words make a bad person.
Swear words, anyway. Damn, shit – and why does my kid think ‘hell’ is a bad word? Who taught him that?
Kids push, shove, bite, argue, kick, grab, throw knapsacks at each other, punch.
I saw a girl spit at another girl once.
But one thing I know from eating dinner with them, from listening to them and walking with them in the schoolyard and finding them crying and being in the middle of it all -
It’s not easy being a kid.
So many choices to make and trying to figure out right from wrong and all those people – if you are told what you chose was wrong – that you think you have disappointed: Mom, Dad, the teacher, the principal, friends, brothers, sisters, Sidney Crosby – holy canoli as someone I know just wrote and made me smile.
Sure I have to open the letter from the mortgage company when it comes (Oh hey look – our taxes went up again wheeeeee) and I have to make the lunches and I have to bring the cat to the vet when she isn’t well and I have to make the doctor appointments and buy the right toothpaste and not run out of gas – but one thing is for sure -
Thank God I’m not a kid.Print