It's been a tough week. Just as I was finding a place in my soul for Aurora, Sikhs in Wisconsin were killed in an act of stupidity surpassing understanding. I spent a day in court and a piece of my heart was shredded, just a little bit more. The temperatures have been in triple digits and there's no end in sight. It's too hot to swim in the pool.
Deep thought is at the very edge of possibility when perspiration is running down every surface of my body. Profundity gives way to whimpering. Yes, everything is air conditioned, but you have to get there first. Our schools are one story, stretching over lots and lots of land. There were great distances between the places I wanted to go this morning.
Today is the first day of school for the Amphitheater District. Moms and Dads and aunties and day care providers held the hands of terrified tiny ones who stood in the lobby, staring, bemused, at the controlled chaos surrounding them. Big Kids - fourth graders - herded younger siblings and cousins to the desk, where classroom assignments were clarified and directions given.... in several languages.
Ms. Levine was expecting at least 24 students .... and seven languages....in her kindergarten room. The usual capable, competent, all-knowing smile was on her face; those little ones are luckier than they know, having her as their introduction to education in America.
The faces and the outfits were all the colors of the rainbow. Hair was slicked back and held in place with barrettes and clips and ribbons and more gel than Diana Taurasi has ever used to affix an errant strand. Pink was the predominant color, and worry was the predominant emotion.
That's where the magic stickers came in.
Haven't you heard of these magic stickers? The smiley face in the top point is very very special. If you rub it when you're feeling sad, it has the power to send the love of the grown-up who's holding your hand now... here in the lobby... that hand that feels so good and that you'll miss so much... all that love is sent right to your heart... at any time... whenever you need it.... all day long... just by rubbing the smiley face on the star.
Do you think you are the only one who is worried and afraid and a little bit scared? Not so, my young friend. Everyone who is wearing a similar sticker has had this same conversation.... was just as nervous... needs just as much help as you do. If you see a sticker, smile at the person behind it; she'll know just why you're doing it. She'll probably smile back at you.
I left cookies and chocolate kisses for the staff, and I found Lowis's classroom after several false starts. Precious was deposited in kindergarten. We were hot and sweaty and all a bit overwhelmed when Ms. Call and the student body president appeared on the flat screen for the welcome and the pledge of allegiance.
New technology and all, school still starts with the pledge.
It was time to drop off snacks at another middle school, and then to start my day. Once again, doing good, sharing the love, receiving the hugs and the grateful handshakes has taken me away from the sadness and the horror and the grief that surrounds so much of the noise in my brain. For a couple of hours this morning, my biggest worry was how to spell Lowis's last name, how to find room 605.
Plea deals and semi-automatic weapons didn't figure into the picture at all. It was lovely.