I’m at the school for a committee meeting and realize it’s nearly lunchtime so decide to sneak down to the cafeteria to say hello to the boys. I’m glad to see the first graders since A. is the only one thrilled to see me at school these days.
His face breaks into a smile when I approach the long cafeteria table. He scoots over to make room. I slip my legs over the bench and slide in next to him.
I like to think I know all my kids’ friends but don’t recognize the blond sitting directly beside him.
“Hi!” I say. “What’s your name?”
A. jumps in to answer before the boy responds.
“He’s new. First day. Told him to sit next to me at lunch.” Mr. Business.
“That was really nice,” I smile. “And play at lunch recess, too?”
A. nods his head enthusiastically to indicate “duh, of course.”
I sit and talk for a few minutes until the monitors indicate that everyone needs to clear out for the next grade arriving for lunch. “Have fun!” I say to the new boy before leaning in and whispering into A.’s ear, “I’m very proud of you.” He grins his toothless grin and skips out to join his new friend at recess.
The first graders gone, the fourth graders file in.
“He’s over there!” my oldest’s friends yell and point to a long table on the far end of the lunchroom. I spy him just as he makes a show of ducking beneath the tabletop.
I have one simple request. If you see me at school helping out and I wave, have the courtesy to acknowledge me and wave back. If you don’t (because mom is too uncool for school) there will be consequences.
I hide behind one of a half dozen columns and wait. And wait.
He thinks he’s in the clear. He goes wide. Then I attack.
I jump from behind the column, wave crazy jazz hands, and let out a “Booga, Booga!” I. nearly drops his lunch tray. His friends roll with laughter.
Even if he won’t admit it, he loves the attention, smiles and rolls his eyes. I can tell he’s pleased.
I stride the two steps towards him, wrap my arms around him and shower him with kisses in a I-am-way-too-old-for-this-and-my-mom-is-trying-to-ruin-my-life way. He attempts to wiggle away but with my arms around him and his arms around his tray, he’s trapped.
I give him one last smooch and release my grip. He joins his friends and runs to recess.
I know. Embarrassing your kids at school doesn’t qualify as kind, but gosh it’s fun.