But she really looked cute this morning.
A hand-me-down pink ribbed shirt with tiny matching rhinestones at the collar that I’m not sure she’s ever worn. A brown and pink flowered corduroy skirt with an extra ruffle at the bottom. And the ivory tights. It was a whole outfit of things that matched. And it was really my only option since she had (literally) not a single pair of clean pants.
So we went for it, and she was cute. Cold, but cute.
Then 3:45 rolls around and she appears out of nowhere in my classroom just like she does every afternoon. “Hi, mom.”
Shoes untied. Hair staticky and everywhere from her fuzzy hood. A stain mingled with the rhinestones. The ivory tights are now mostly brown, and one knee cap is completely poking through.
Not so cute anymore. Looks like she’s going more for the Mom-Doesn’t-Take-Care-of-Me look. And it only got worse.
I had made plans to work with a friend in her classroom on one of those ridiculous paperwork things that make teachers want to poke their eyeballs out and/or just retire early. Chica, armed with a few markers, scissors, construction paper, and her creative genius, had her mind set on creating a whole flock of turkeys. And if you have a kid or teach kids or have just ever been a kid, then you know that pretty much the only way to draw a turkey is to trace your hand.
So perhaps 45 minutes later we discover her….left hand completely black, black marker smears on the brown tights, and black marker all over her face. She is truly talented…at making messes I mean. The turkeys were pretty good too.
Tonight we had planned to have dinner at Bubba’s school, but there was no time to take this piece of work home and clean her up. Her daddy could barely look at her he was so embarrassed. I just tried to keep reminding myself that it was all a sign that she had had a good day. A really good day.
On the way home I knew that the image of Chica and her holy tights had to be my thankful picture for the day. Sure, I’m thankful for her creative spirit that will not be squelched by dirt or lack of materials or a grouchy mom. But I think even more, today, I’m thankful that tomorrow is a new day. The tights will go in the trashcan, the clothes will go in the washer, and the girl has already been in the bath. Tomorrow she’ll skip to the bus a new kid, ready for a new day.
Tomorrow will be a new day. As I turned on the bathwater, I thought of all the things I wanted to wash down the drain from my day. The shortness I had with a friend that just wanted help. The hurried and grouchy words with my kids. The even more grouchy words with my classroom full of big kids who just four years ago were turkey-making little kids. That yucky feeling of not doing what you know you need to do.
I’m thankful for forgiveness and that I get to try again tomorrow. It’s a new day.
Oh…and I guess I’m also thankful that I now know never to send a kindergartener to school in ivory tights. Shouldn’t I have known that already?