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I Got My Lunch Packed Up, My Boots Tied Tight….


“Are you ready to go back to school Buddy?” School for the little dude starts a week earlier than the rest of the school district kids, so his break was shorter than mine. I wondered if I’d have trouble getting him to school when he knew I wasn’t going to work, but he was actually excited to go back.

“Ya. Reading.” Then he put his thumb up. “Writing.” Thumb up. “Math.” Thumb down. ‘Silver sparkly pencils.” Two thumbs up. “I get to use my sparkly pencils. I love them. I have 12 of them.” He hates math but cool pencils make it all okay.

“Mom, what was school like for you when you were a kid?” I started thinking about school from a kid perspective. What would I give a thumbs up and a thumbs down to?

“Well, it was a lot like it is for you. We had cool pencils like you do, erasers that smelled good, and it was all about the scratch and sniff stickers for us. I had a teacher who gave out jawbreakers. Mr. Decker. If you got a Dinasour egg from Mr. Decker that was a big deal. You had to have done something really cool to get one, like get 100% on a test, or stay after school to do extra math, something like that. He was a cool teacher.”

Tommy  frowns. “ I wish we got jawbreakers! It’s always no sugar, no sugar!” Poor kid. Montessori is wrecking his life.

I continue down memory lane, since I have a rapt audience. It is bedtime, so I think he is just delaying the dreaded sleep, but I still take full advantage. “We had a word of the week, and if you were the best one at that word, you would get an award at assembly on Friday. Our assembly was like your community gathering.” I explain. “Anyway, if the word was responsible, and you acted responsibly all week, you would get the award.”

“Oh, okay, I get it, “ Tommy says. “So like if the word of the week was freaky….”

That kid cracks me up.

He did make me remember how much I liked school. After nearly three weeks off, I am working on finding my own reasons to be excited to get back to work. I’d like to be sparkly-pencil excited, but I’m a little stressed about benchmarks, DRAs, an IEP to schedule and write, and my second formal evaluation of the year and a third coming up soon. I’d like to remember what I love about the job: Listening to the kids’ lunch conversations. How Mr. M sings that Britney Spears song, Come on Over every time I call a student over for his afternoon meeting. Cheetos lined up like synchronized orange worms on a desk. Fruit snacks to be opened from the top only. “Can you please tie my shoe?” Stories about the Regular Show.  The coworkers who always have a smile and a hello for me. My own version of sparkly pencils and scratch and sniff stickers: gel pens and sharpies and multicolored, still sharp Expo markers.

Maybe I’ll even eat lunch in the teachers lounge a few times. Maybe.

Currently reading: My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler (hilarious. This is a level of self-deprecating humorous writing I’m not sure I can achieve, so I’m glad we’ve got Chelsea to do it)

Finished: Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman and The Mistresses Daughter by A.M. Homes (thumbs in the middle on both)

Next Up, Possibly: All Over Creation by Ruth Ozeki

4 Comments leave one →
  1. permalink
    01/09/2014 9:04 pm

    Nice post, you know I’m a big fan. You remember a whole lot more about school than I ever did. Love ya, Tim

    • 01/16/2014 2:27 am

      YO bro! I love you so much! The more I thought about school, the more details came to me. Did I remind you of some stuff?

  2. 01/10/2014 3:01 pm

    Every time we go to Powell’s I look for Dinosaur Eggs. And every time, I am so sad. The world needs Dinosaur Eggs. Our children are being deprived. 😉

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