I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March. You should do it too! Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing!
The case of the missing thermos.
You know when your husband texts you to vent that he forgot to put a thermos in your daughter’s bag? You happen to be in a meeting, about to go to another meeting… and not teaching. So, you actually can help in the middle of the day. You know how it feels so good to be able to help, because usually you are stuck in your classroom, unable to help anyone beyond the walls of the school? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful wonderful job to have… but you are trapped in those 4 walls from 8 – 3:17, and there’s no time, no way to leave…even for a lost lunch thermos.
But not today! Today you miraculously have time. You go to Wegmans and you get your daughter something yummy she’ll love. And you look at the mac & cheese that is your son’s favorite and you think maybe you should get some for him so he isn’t jealous. But you stop yourself. “Oh it doesn’t make any sense to get that for him… he has his thermos.”
So you drive to their school. You smile at your son in the hallway. You are thrilled to see him in the middle of the day. He shrugs his shoulders in that “I’m too cool to care that you’re here” way. But, you give him a hug anyway, because, well… of course! Then you go downstairs to the middle school and give your daughter her special lunch and you watch her choreographed dance she and her friends have been working on at recess and you hugged her too, right in front of her friends. They notice you have green glitter on your cheek. “I’ve been in this school for 5 minutes and I already have glitter?” you say. “Must be from the hug.” your daughter says.
Then you walk back upstairs to give your son one more hug and an “I love you.” Even though it’s the beginning of lunch, he’s putting his lunch box away and his teachers are asking, “Are you all done eating?”
He says “I have nothing left but that’s okay, I’m not hungry anymore.”
You hesitate and ask, “Didn’t you have a thermos?”
He looks at you and he says, “No.”
You are calm as you say “Oh honey! I’m so sorry! I wish I had known. I would have brought you something.” Because, you know…. you wish you had known and you wish you had brought him something (for example… that just-in-case mac & cheese!)
But your son assures you that he’s not hungry, that he had enough food with his snack and fruit. So you check with him a thousand more times, just enough to make him annoyed. You make sure he knows that if he’s hungry later he can ask the teacher for some extra food. You talk with him about what he’s going to do while all the other children eat, and he makes a plan for art. You get one last hug and you leave, watching him get books with help from his teacher.
Your whole drive back to your meeting you feel a little bit guilty about that stupid mac & cheese that you could’ve bought. You hope that he has something appropriate and calm to keep his hands and mind and body busy while everyone else is eating their lunch. You know you have left him with one more challenge to face in his day.
You text your husband, wondering where that thermos could be. It’s not at home. It’s not in your son’s backpack. It’s not in your younger son’s lunchbox at preschool. Where is it?
A thermos has never been so mysterious.
And, you know how at the end of the day you find out that your son’s thermos was in your daughter’s lunchbox?