I'm off this week, but I spent about six hours at the hospital playing catch up today. After a fun girl lunch I headed over to the kid's school to volunteer for an Easter party. When Jack's room mom sent out a query for volunteers about a month ago I was so excited I wasn't working. Ha ha. Ironic, but still. No new work - room to breathe. Not like last week.
The query e-mail promised more information later, but not much came. I showed up to the classroom upstairs at 2 and no one was there. I bumped into the principal, who I saw informing other confused moms down the hall, and she told me the 2nd grade activity was in the gym. I wandered down to the gym, and was so excited to see Jack on the floor squirming in a line with the rest of his class. The gym floor was ringed by three classes of second graders. There was a large pile of scattered construction paper cut-outs of various Easter colored butterflies and different shaped flowers at the center of the gym floor. I looked around to see what I could do to help. A coach was about to give the instructions to the kids, but as he started another mom volunteer walked up to me. She pointed to a green poster on the wall with letters making a joyful religious phrase in flower shapes that reminded me of Wheel of Fortune blank spaces. She handed me some sticky tack and told me we had to help the kids stick the letters to the poster board when they found them. But she was talking to me when the coach was giving the instructions, so I didn't know what the kids were going to do and had to figure it out while watching.
There were three poster boards on three different walls of the gym, all of the same phrase. Each class would send three representative kids to the large pond of scattered paper to overturn them looking for a letter of the phrase (I forget what it was). When one kid found a letter, he or she would run to his class poster and we would help them stick it to the board with sticky tack. Then they would tag another class representative to join the search. It was fun to figure it out. Only the flowers had letters, and the kids didn't know this, so they turned a lot of butterflies over to no avail.
I wandered over to the other volunteer mom, silently wondering about the game. It had come to a standstill. Kids were turning, but no more letters were being found. "Wouldn't it be a mean but funny trick for them to not put enough letters out? So the kids are learning a hard fact about life? That there aren't really any answers?" She was watching too, and noticed the dilemma. We laughed. The no more finding letters continued, the kids were working frantically. I checked in with the teacher. "Do you think they only put out less than enough letters, accidentally, maybe to only fill only one poster instead of three?" I watched her see the problem too, and she checked in with the organizer, who I learned had an extra set of letters and began planting them. As she was doing this, the other mom and I quipped. I said, "Maybe the lesson is like the lost plane. It's time to figure out there aren't really any answers in life." She said, "Maybe they want the kids to cooperate, and pool their letters. Create an axis with allies between countries."
As the new letters were planted, the game accelerated. One class finished their poster, and then the other. Jack's class was still trying. They only needed one more letter. A lot of adults were helping now. The game had gone on too long. I stepped into the middle of the gym, and picked up my first flower - one of hundreds. It was the last letter to Jack's class puzzle. I screamed in triumph, showed it too the class, and Jack beamed. "Mom, you found the last letter!!"
Sometimes it takes a lot of work and a little luck to get to the solution.
I've been channeling Alannis all week. So I will subject you to more. Her words and music are rolling around in my head like a sack of marbles. It's fun to revisit your past with new tools. I'll post the one I like today in a new post. I'm too tired to figure out how to do it here. It's time for a glass of wine or two and bed.