The other day the Target flyer came, the one with all of the back to school sales. I love that flyer, so many cool items. But, after my first initial inhale of anticipation, I let out a slow disappointed sigh. I have no one to buy back to school junk for. No one to buy a myriad of notebooks, a bundle of pens and pencils. No one to buy funky chairs for the dorm room or a sweet string of lights. As my sigh ended I was struck with the knowledge. Once again, I have encountered another new phase of my life. As a Mom, I have moved out of the school years completely. Pre-school, Elementary, High School, College, all a blur, all finished. I have been thrown not under the school bus, but past it into this next phase of my life. The complication is, I am still struggling to decide what to do.
Last fall I started a new part-time job. I work for the Scotia-Glenville Traveling Museum. My job, besides the fact that I have to carry very heavy loads into the schools, is fun. Yes, fun word be the word. In fact, I enjoyed the school year so much, I signed on to teach summer sessions this year. The other day, as I was trying to get to my destination I became very frustrated. Traffic, construction and the fact I was lost all sent my heart rate soaring. When I finally arrived at the school, I was flustered and upset with myself for being late. The teachers were very gracious and soon I had everything set up and we were under way with the class. That day, I was teaching an elementary level class of developmentally disabled students, how to make ice cream. There were about 30 of them. I did a small presentation on fun facts about ice cream. I had several students help me pour the ingredients into our small coffee cans. The anticipation was growing as I explained how we needed to put the smaller can into a large can and surround it with ice and salt. Then I put a sleeve made of old sweat pants around each of the three large cans and handed them to the students. They gathered around their teachers and aides and following my instructions began to roll the cans to freeze the milk and cream inside. Each table was intent on accomplishing their task. The students went at their job with gusto.
I stood back for a while and observed the room. The teachers were encouraging the students, with smiles and kind words. The students responded with delight and huge grins. I felt the rush of excitement in the air, like a flash of lightning. It was that startling to me. And then I realized I was going to cry. I bit my tongue. This will be really embarrassing if I cry for no apparent reason in front of these people. But the gratitude I felt for the fact I had found a job that brought me such joy was incredible. It was fulfilling to realize I had a part in bringing a day to these students that would be remembered for a long time. Not wanting to cry I turned from the scene and busied myself with cleaning up and preparing to serve the ice cream to my happy, hungry students. Yet, the moment stayed with me. I realized here was one of my purposes in life. I say one, because I know I have others. And, like any good student, whether I need to buy back to school stuff or not, I am ready to learn.