*Author’s note: While I am in no way attempting to hide my identity (in fact, I’d love it if some great website wants to pick up my writing), I do prefer to protect the details of my life (e.g. my son’s name, where we live, etc.). Most often my son will be referred to as “the Kid” or “Kid.” My husband will be referred to in similar identifiable ways.
While I don’t specifically remember Scholastic Book Fair memories, I do know that — as a lover of books — I could not wait to volunteer at the book fair at my son’s schools. It is thrilling to watch little faces and little eyes look longingly at book covers and excitedly shoving those books into their parents’ faces, asking “Can I get this? Can I get this?”
Since we live a simple life as Jehovah’s Witnesses, we don’t have a variety of holidays that we anticipate and become giddy over. Rather, one of my absolute favorite times of year (and my son’s) is the Scholastic Book Fair. Each time it rolls around I volunteer excessively, eagerly anticipating those eager and curious looks on the childrens’ faces.
This year is no different — I am volunteering on both my days off. Today, as circumstances had it — the family rode in one car. I decided that, because I’d worn my contacts all yeterday, and I was running behind, that wearing my glasses would be perfect for the Book Fair. It would make me look more Bookish. See?
Plus, the Hubs would get to drop us both off at the door … dropping his kids off at the school 😉 I practically skipped in!
The book fair went really well. With an extra volunteer, we had almost all correct change (I only had to donate a nickel), and many of the children were creating their wish lists. While we had some children who insisted on only purchasing the silly erasers, pens, bookmarks, and posters, the majority of students used their money to buy books (it’s a BOOK fair. We’ve taught the kid from day one that we will spend money on books and nothing else).
Time went quickly, and before I knew it, we were ready to close. Before leaving to walk to the shop, I stopped in the restroom (while adults and children must share, the toilets are typical height, so I didn’t feel like Alice in Wonderland when she drank the potion (or was it eat the cake?) and turned into a giant.
As it turned out, the book fair closed as lunch was about to begin, so I was suddenly in the girls’ room with a small crowd of second and third graders who immediately wanted to know who I was. I exited the stall to be met with a little girl who was in the kid’s class last year. She looked at me, looked at my visitor badge, and said, “Ms. Craig?” I replied yes. Suddenly this adorable blonde whips her head around:
Are you KID Craig’s Mom?!?!?
(in a deeply passionate voice). I used to like him, but now I hate him!
He made me cry!
After which she threw her head in her hands and headed to the wall near the doorway, with several friends staring at me and then rushing after her to comfort her.
I just stood there … mostly confused and a little upset that my kid made a little girl cry (someone said it was in as they sat in a tree on the playground). I think I was just looking around with this dumb look on my face.
Another little girll — much less dramatic — walked next to me as she was washing her hands — and said, “Their relationship. It’s complicated.” (for some reason I felt that I needed clarification, as there was mention of a best female friend. The less-dramatic girl clarified that she was referring to my kid’s relationship withe the cute blonde).
As the girls filed out, I walked slowly behind them thinking, “When did elementary bathrooms become like middle-school bathrooms?” Partially stunned, I mentioned this to the office manager, explaining how I’d practically been ambushed. She nodded, and said, “The kid seems to do that with lots of girls.” I shrugged and said, “He’s just not ready to settle down yet.”
Relating this to the kid, he said, “Yeah, but she talked to me again at recess.” Evidently he’s been trying to apologize for hurting her feelings to no avail until today. He went on to agree that their relationship is, indeed, complicated.
Tonight, I feel a mix of emotions … amusement at how early all of this starts; bewilderment as to what — if anything — I should do to intervene; and slight concern that I immediately felt like I was in a middle school bathroom being confronted by the “popular” girls.
Verdict for the day is: I’m glad I am not in school anymore; it thrills me to see children who are hungry to read; my worst nightmare of my son being a heartbreaker has come true; and the best distraction for me is to interact with a bunch of loud, hyper, crazy, and dramatic elementary schools students.