I love people’s reactions when I say I teach kindergarten.
“Awww. So cute. And SO much fun!”
Or, “You’re a saint! How do you do it?”
Sometimes, I don’t know. But this year, I don’t know how I’d do without it.
These kids are my daily delight. No matter what new news of rejections, regulations, or non-renewals I receive, they set me smiling. You can’t not. Try it:
-I have a ruffy nose. (runny and stuffy?)
-I can’t wait till the afternoon! I’m having a playdate with Fall! (her friend’s name, in fact, is Autumn)
–(Overheard, said reverently and without a discernable note of disgust) You know how I know her? She put a big booger on my seat on the bus. And that is how we met!
-So many peopllle…? Live in my hooouse…? That my parents! Have to share a bed! (really astute logic, actually)
-My Dad’s belly button is SO big—that I can fill it up like a pool! (Waaay too much information—I’m sure Dad would agree)
These are all actual kindergarten quotes—the ones I remember offhand (I keep a log at school). This year, I have a girl who lives in “Magic Land.” She’s only invited a select few, myself included. All have accepted and then, at some point, asked to be excused. Except for me. I figure houses here can be made of lily pads, right on the water, no problem. I’m flyin’ with fairy girl.
She invited one boy, who did not fully appreciate the honor. He presented me with news of her folly, starting with the dubious question:
Skeptical Boy: Do you be-weeve in magic?
Me: Sure I do!
S.B.: Well is it weal?
Me: Well, I think it is. You don’t have to, honey. But you’ll sure miss out.
S.B.: She… (uncrossing his arms to point accusingly at fairy girl) She invited me to Magic Wuhld but she can’t weally get me there.
Me: What makes you think she can’t get you to Magic World?
S.B.: (Shaking his head disapprovingly) She says she’s a fai-wy and huah wings aw invisible! You know why she says that? It’s because theew aw no wings on huah! I don’t be-weeve in magic. I only believe in the kind with the man and the hat.
(Quizzical look from Me)
S.B.: And the wabbit?
S.B.: Oh yeah—and Santa.
S.B.: And the Easduah Bunny.
S.B.: And the Tooth Faiwy.
These kids know you can get what you want, and if it isn’t brought by a magical gift-bringer or spritzed out of your own invisible wand, well—you can always buy it. One mom told me how she was preparing her son to go shopping for my Christmas gift. As she buckled him in, she asked him what he had in mind.
“Mom, can you take me to the store where they sell houses? I want to buy her a house.”
It’s enough to make you not want a house.
This year on my birthday, after a beautiful beachside commute, I arrived at an electrified school. Everyone, everyone had seen the most spectacular double rainbow of all time—except me. This was the Halley’s comet of rainbows. Legendary. A where were you when kind of a rainbow.
I saw no rainbow, but the sky had been so breathtaking as I started my drive that I decided I’d drive it in silence, maybe search for a sign.
Past birthday “signs” have been bountiful for me. Once a swan landed in the middle of a beach highway, just far enough ahead for me to be able to come to a complete stop and marvel at its two-lane wingspan. What did it mean? A fortunate year? Beauty? Power? Was I pure? Blessed? It didn’t matter. I felt alive. I got a gift from the world.
So when I got to school on my birthday this year and heard all the rainbow fanfare, I felt ripped off. Really? The girl who lost her home and is actually searching the skies for a sign is the only one who misses it? On her birthday?
But my kids skipped in, grinning ear to ear like they always do this year. Singing, “Good mor—ning!” Bursting with news of their worlds, real or imagined. One opened her folder, and handed me a “birthday picture” of a rainbow. Another had a card for me, with a rainbow above my name. More children opened their folders and gave me rainbow after rainbow. Flowers and rainbows, dogs and rainbows, a rainbow over my new house from the boy who wanted to buy me one.
When everyone talks about the Double Rainbow of 2013, I’ll tell tales of my Multiplying Rainbows. Call them a sign. Call them magic. Yes, do call them magic.
Teaching kindergarten is hard. And it is cute, and it is fun.
But my class this year is so much more than that. They are legendary. My Halley’s Comet of classes. A once in a lifetime wonder–right when I needed a sign.