I’ve been sitting still and listening intently but after three cups of coffee, I can’t hold it any longer. I quietly leave my seat and sneak out of the meeting to the bathroom at the back of the cafeteria.
I arrive at the door just as a first grader barrels down the stairs. “I can’t hold it!” he cries doing the universal dance of distress. “And I can’t get my pants down!” he wails hopping from foot to foot. No further explanation is necessary.
The boy stops in front of me but I wave him inside to give him some privacy. A dad in the back room meets my eyes and grins. I’m relieved that someone else has seen this exchange. After working with Prevent Child Abuse Ohio for so many years, I’m overly sensitive to what is and what is not appropriate. We stand within eyesight of the dad so he can witness how I’m helping.
I drop to my knees and struggle to loosen the boy’s belt from its hook. He lurches forward as his belt breaks free and dashes past me into the bathroom.
I laugh and enter the girls side. When I return to the sink to wash my hands, I see the boy tear out of the sink area, both shoelaces flapping. Some kids have only one speed. Fast. As he mounts the stairs to the second floor, he turns and yells down to me, “Thanks for helping me!” Gives me a grin and bounds back up to his classroom.
You are so welcome, I think and give him a wave.
Thanks for reminding me that everyone needs a little help now and then.
And some people need a little help RIGHT NOW.