Wednesday, November 28, 2012

in the meantime

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.


  1. You sons' school is lucky to have you!

  2. Sounds like fun, well except for the no shower part. You know my sis always showers before a run. I have asked her, "Why?!" She says if she doesn't shower before hand she gets too hot. Weird but that's my sis.

    Anyway, I'm seriously thinking of opening a daycare. I think that would be a fun way to spend my days. I even went to a meeting the other day about getting certified to teach in Oregon. It would only take me about 9 months.

    My son said, "Aren't you getting a little old for a career change?"

    I said, "Nope. The times going to pass whether or not I go back to school..."

    So, I'm thinking...

  3. K is such a wonderful age. My daughter will probably be working with just Grades 3,4 and 5 next year and she keeps talking about how much she will miss the little ones. She told the K teacher she would be sneaking into her class if she has a little spare time.

  4. Hugs and high fives make for a great day.

  5. Hope that teacher is okay.

    I know what you mean on the smells! I volunteered to work a pancake supper at the twins' preschool last week, and came home and couldn't sleep because my long hair REEKED of bacon grease. It absorbs smells really easily. I had to shower!

  6. The only thing that could make this heart-warming post better would be if one of the kids getting his hug had pulled back from you and hollered, "MRS. W, ARE YOU NOT WEARING A BRA???!!!"

    Glad you were able to take the class, especially because the kids needed you, as did their teacher.

  7. It is close to a guarantee if you don't shower, put on shoes, or step out of your pajama pants you will be called to perform in public.
    When L was in 1st grade I was a substitute kitchen helper with our ISD. I sure enjoyed those kitchen ladies and serving the kids. I was also surprised at how different a hamburger and fries could keep and taste strictly due to the talent and desire of the cooks.

  8. you would have been sweaty and your hair would have been matted from the hairnet anyway.
    he he.
    good for you to be able to help in an emergency. The kids don't mind what you wear or if you smell a bit off. They care more that you show them attention and have a good attitude. No doubt you are good at both of those.
    Bet you get to do it more often.
    Sorry the teacher is having difficulties.

  9. Why is it that I keep wondering what sort of stocking cap you were wearing? My first picture was of something nylon for some bizarre reason and then I realized that oh, it must be a regular knit stocking cap and that doesn't really sound so bad. Now, the no bra part, well that depends. :0
    For me, it would not really matter. It's the willingness that counts?
    Actually, it sounds like it was a good day with kids who totally appreciated who you are for real.

  10. The kids would have run screaming from the building if I showed up without a bra.

    You are so right--Kindergarteners are definitely not judgy.

  11. I don't sweat much because I'm usually cold, but certain smells tend to linger in my hair, especially French toast sticks.


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