I head to volunteer in the kitchen at my kids' school. It's kind of a dirty job. I wash dishes, the smell of tater tots and sloppy joes infuses my hair, plus I get a little sweaty since it's always really hot in there. Every week it's a serious conundrum: should I shower first and feel slightly skeevy the rest of the day, or shower after my shift and feel real fresh for the rest of the day?
On Monday I decided to shower later. I have to wear an apron and a hat in the cafeteria and I don't get too close to anyone since I'm behind a counter serving food and then alone in the corner by the dishwasher. So, I pulled a stocking cap over my head, skipped wearing a bra and tossed a t-shirt over my rank body before heading to run a few errands and pull my shift in the kitchen. My master plan included running afterwards, getting a good cardio sweat going before hitting the showers. Genius!
And then, just as I was pushing the last racks through the dishwasher, the school secretary came running up to me. "We need you to cover Kindergarten this afternoon." Of course it was an emergency. Naturally there's no one else available to take on those kids. I wiped off my hands, untied my apron and followed her upstairs. (BTW: please pray for this teacher--I cannot go into details here because I respect her privacy.)
I spent the afternoon smelling funky, wearing my stocking cap over my greasy hair and feeling thankful that Kindergarten kids don't care if you wear a bra or not. We studied counting to ten, following Jesus, our five senses and I read three chapters out of a Junie B. Jones book (yes, I do all the voices--did you really wonder?). The kids gave me an enthusiastic and slightly off-key preview of their Christmas concert songs. I won't lie to you, though, it wasn't all sunshine and lollipops (although on Tuesday we did study the letter "L" and lollipop begins with "L.") I totally felt the Art Teacher judging my wardrobe choices for the day when she came in to draw snowmen with the kids. My favorite part of the afternoon happened after I'd gotten them all bundled, packed and lined up to head home.
Ms. W! You're supposed to give us all hugs or high-fives before you say goodbye! (they explain this in an ear-piercing chorus, using their level 4 yelling voices, 'cuz that's how Kindergartners talk to you.)
Well. I hunched over and awkwardly waited as each kid decided how they'd end our quality afternoon together. Would they go in for the full hug or offer up an arm's length sort of farewell? Some kids hesitated for a moment, sizing me up and deciding whether I was hug-worthy or a more casual "high-five" kind of acquaintance. For the record, I got mostly full-on hugs around my midsection, one "half hug," and four high-fives. Unquestionably the best feeling I had all day--besides the shower I took an hour after I got home.