Thursday, September 29, 2011
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.
I like to volunteer at school. It's an opportunity to be a fly on the wall and sneak a hug with the eight year old during her school day. I signed up to serve lunch. It's a pretty easy gig. You get a basket for each grade, load the baskets with food and then eighth grade kids come to deliver the baskets to each class room - easy. Usually.
Yesterday I got all set up and waited. Waiting is fun for a mom with an over loaded schedule. I daydreamed, played with my hair and hummed a little song to myself. After a while I realized something was wrong - no eighth graders. I checked in with the office and found out that he eighth grade are away on a field trip. No problem - I will just run the baskets around myself.
The eight year old was delighted to see me in her class room. She helped me pass out the lunches and got first pick at the fruit choices. Then it was time for me to go. I've served lunch before. I volunteer at school regularly but for some reason yesterday was different. She started to cry. She clung onto me and begged me not to leave. Oh dear.
Her teacher suggested we go outside. I hugged her in the corridor and explained I'd be back soon for pick up.
"Nooooooooo, don't go, stay with me. Take me with you." Ugh.
I explained that I couldn't and that I really had to go. Looking at my watch I saw that it was pre-school pick up time in 5 minutes and I was at least 20 minutes away. The three year old will be watching the door for my arrival. Despair comes to mind. Not real despair but parental despair. I am going to get this wrong for one of them. Likely both of them. It's so unfair - I was trying to do something helpful.
Although she is still crying I walked the eight year old back to her class door and tell her I really must go and she must go in.
"I won't be able to help at school if it makes you sad," I say.
We open the door and she goes in. I give her a last kiss and close the door. She has a last minute panic and grabs for the door.
The door closes on three of her fingers.
I can still hear that wail. It's at moments like this that I feel the urge to run away and let someone else deal with the mess.
I swear I can hear my watch ticking as I am more and more late for the three year old. The eight year old is screaming in pain now. People come out of other class rooms to see see what is happening. We go to the office for ice. EVERYBODY asks what happened. I get to say over and over that I, her mother, shut her fingers in a door. One child asks me if I did it as a punishment?! In all the chaos the lunch company come for their supplies and take some lunches away with them that I hadn't had time to deliver.
In the end, of course, all was well. The lunches were retrieved. The eight year old, with no permanent injury, went back to her class. The three year old, although a little upset at my late appearance, got to play with a friend and was fine. I have many more gray hairs and spent some considerable time cursing Murphy and his damn law but no real harm was done. I may opt to sit on my couch with a good book next time.