“Wow!” You’re thinking. “It must have been really bad/good for you to remember the exact date.”
Well, yes and no. I remember the general timeframe because it was Teacher Appreciation Week and my kids were the naughtiest they have been all year and I remember thinking, “Come on, guys, this is Teacher Appreciation Week. Hello! You’re supposed to be being nice to me…not totally and completely naughty.” I mean, even the great kids were giving me a hard time…this was certainly not the way this teacher envisioned being appreciated, that’s for sure!
And I remember the exact date because it was a Tuesday. “How did you remember that it was a Tuesday?” Good question. I remember it was a Tuesday because Tuesday is our library day and I remember going to the library so it must have been Tuesday. “How did you remember it was library day?” Another good question. I remember it was library day, which means it was a Tuesday, because it took us forever to get to the library.
That’s right, my class was being so naughty that it took practically half of our library time just to walk the 20 steps it takes us to get to the library. “How do you know it takes 20 steps to get to the library?” Wow, you guys (all three of you) sure have a lot of questions today! Well, I know it takes 20 steps to get to the library because we’ve counted!
Remember, it’s First Grade people, which means we have estimated and counted, and counted again, how many steps it takes to get to the library. Learning opportunities are everywhere in First Grade folks, simply everywhere!
So I’ve had a pretty bad day at work and I’m driving home from this day spent with naughty kids, and what do I see when I turn the corner onto my street? My son washing the car! That simple little act simply made my day…in fact, it changed my bad day to a good day in an instant.
But wait…it gets better. I’m reveling in the joy my son brought me by washing the car without being asked (heck, my husband may have told him to wash the car for all I know, but I didn’t even care…seeing him out there when I pulled up was just what I needed)…so I’m reveling in this little moment of joy and I realize it’s time to go pick up my daughter from the gym. I’m so happy with my son, that having to run out yet again doesn’t make me one bit grumpy…really, not even one bit! Honest!
And thank goodness I was the one to pick her up. She gets in the car and we make our usual small talk, and then out of the blue she says…are you ready for this? Wait, maybe you better sit down. No, on second thought stand up, because if you’re sitting down then you’ll totally fall out of your chair when you hear what she says…you ready?
My 14-year old daughter…the one whom I typically annoy just by breathing…said, “I just want to thank you guys (meaning me and her dad) for raising me right.” If I weren’t driving I would have fallen out of my chair, and then I would have collapsed into a mush of mommy pride. It would have been ugly, so let’s just say I was more than grateful to have been driving.
“Aww, honey, that’s sweet, what makes you say that?” I ask.
“Well,” she says (and if you knew her, then you would know that what she says next is so totally her that it makes the moment even sweeter), but anyway, she says, “Well, I look around at the kids at school and I’m not a bad kid or a kid who does drugs or anything like that, and, well, I’m not like a nerd or anything like that either. I’m just a nice, normal kid and I wanted to let you guys know I appreciate how you are raising me.”
Though I tried to play it cool (in the hopes of garnering future moments like this, let’s be honest), I must admit I got a little teary-eyed and confessed to her how touched I was that she would acknowledge how hard her dad and I really do try to do right by her and her brother. I left it at that because, remember, my breathing annoys her, and I knew if I went on and on then this would, indeed, be the last time she ever said anything nice to me again…ever!