"I never see you anymore," my friend said at a Christmas party last weekend. "What are you doing with yourself these days?"
"One word." I told her. "Kindergarten."
Yes, kindergarten. No, I am not teaching kindergarten. I am not even attending kindergarten. But if you have two kids in afternoon kindergarten, it officially becomes the center of your universe.
We spend all morning Getting Ready for Kindergarten. There's not really enough time to go for a playdate or run more than one major errand. Several changes of clothing are involved. Also, people are starving. All the time. Which means apple slicing, peanut butter spreading, cracker crumbing, countertop wiping and more changes of clothing.
Then, no matter how early we start or how organized I am, we somehow are always Rushing to Catch the Bus. I am old-fashioned and don't believe in driving to the bus stop unless the weather is really really really bad. So we walk, we bike, we scoot, we fall, we get muddy, we collect sticks and we climb trees. It is quite a production.
By the time the boys climb into the bus, I am very relieved that no one has broken an arm. I wave and give the twins our "secret sign" as they look through the window. Then I chat with my neighbor, Sue, for a few minutes. We solve several world problems and then I walk slowly home dragging a Razor Spark scooter and a red two-wheeler behind me.
My official kindergarten title is Room Mom. Kindergarten room mom at our school is responsible for lining up parent helpers for Kidwriting each day. Which means I am constantly bugging the parents with emails and phone calls. Or doing Kidwriting in the classroom. Or watching another mom's toddlers so she can go do Kidwriting.
I am always happy when it's my turn to help out. I love elementary school. I loved attending. I loved teaching. I love construction paper and the smell of school lunch (usually).
When I walk into the classroom, the kids are so happy to see me. Nothing is better for one's self-esteem than Kindergarten Love. After hanging with a bunch of eye-rolling teenagers in Seminary every morning, walking into kindergarten is like stepping into a warm bubble bath. They fight to sit next to me! They call out my name! They like my red hoodie! I feel like the Star of the Week.
The truth is my seminary students are not a whole lot different than a group of kindergartners. Both enjoy snacks, stories, sitting by their friends. Both need frequent reminders to stay on task and stop chatting. Both think life is exciting and extremely difficult at the same time. They are right.
As much as I complain about the daily inconveniences of kindergarten, the truth is that I am going to really miss it next year. No more morning buddies to ride in a firetruck shopping cart and embarass me at the grocery store. No more Kidwriting. No more Star of the Week.
But, thankfully, there is no time to worry about that now. It's time to start Rushing to Catch the Bus!