Yesterday, around lunchtime, my phone rang. I could see from the caller ID that it was a TDSB (Toronto District School Board) number. Since Mark works for the TDSB, I assumed it was him calling to see how Penelope and I were doing. When I answered it, however, a female voice on the other end immediately said, “Don’t worry, Charlotte is fine.” I immediately began to hyperventilate. Because if someone from her school is calling me, obviously she wasn’t quite fine. In the two seconds before she told me what happened, a number of different scenarios flashed through my mind- fire at the school, gunman at the school, broken limbs, etc. It is actually quite astonishing how many different terrible things I thought of in that brief moment. Here’s what actually happened: Charlotte was playing on the teeter-totter and somehow it flew up and hit her in the face. I was told she had a bloody lip and possibly a sore nose. She was taken to the office and they put ice on her lip and she was okay. I asked if I should come and pick her up, and they said no, she was fine to stay at school.
So of course I worried all afternoon about what state she would be in when I picked her up. Visions of a swollen lip and bruises on her face danced through my mind. Would she be upset that I didn’t come to get her after she was hurt? For the next several decades, would I hear about how I made her stay at school when she got smashed in the face with the teeter totter? After all, I still make my dad feel guilty about the time he threw a softball at my face and gave me a black eye- twenty years ago.
This is who I dropped off at school in the morning:
And this is who I picked up:
It’s really not even noticeable. Her lip was ever so slightly swollen, and there was some dried blood around her nose, but she was not bothered by it at all. Thank god- parental guilt relieved. She told me about what happened, very matter-of-factly, and then moved onto to other stories about her day, which included a student who pooped in the classroom and her teacher cleaning it up (why so much poop in junior kindergarten? Her teacher is certainly earning her salary).
I received another call of sorts in the afternoon. This call came in the form of a letter from Charlotte’s teacher, asking parents to consider volunteering with the school. I definitely want to volunteer at her school- my mom was always very involved in my school life, and I loved it, especially when I was little. And even as I got older, I may have outwardly acted embarrassed by it, but there was something so comforting about walking down the hallway and hearing my mom’s voice as she helped make pancakes for Pancake Tuesday, and I secretly enjoyed it just as much as I did when I was younger.
Her teacher offers several different options for volunteering. They range from organizing projects at home to coming in to the classroom for an hour a week to read to the kids. And as much as I would love to come in to the classroom for an activity like that, having to bring Penelope along would, at best, be difficult, and at worst, be a total disaster.
She also asks if parents have any special skills or interests they would like to share with the class. So let’s see, special interests…I mean, I guess I could talk to the kids about how to get the most out of their Netflix watching? As for special skills, well, I was the go-to girl for drawing blood in the genetics clinic before I went on maternity leave- kindergartners totally want to learn about phlebotomy, right? Sigh. I think my best bet will be to volunteer for one of the do-at-home options on the list. She’s got another thirteen years of school ahead of her- there will be plenty of time and opportunities for volunteering at the school in years to come. And I really have to be careful not to bite off more than I can chew.
So I am going to encourage some interactive discussion here today. How many of you have gotten THAT phone call from the school? What happened and what was your reaction? And what are your thoughts on volunteering at the school?