I think this story can apply to Mother’s Day as well as Teacher’s Day. I have a new appreciation for teachers after volunteering for every single class trip or “school station day” that was available throughout the years with my kids. One trip in particular pushed me over the edge. I think it was either my son’s second or third grade class trip where we walked from Lathrop Street to “downtown” Montrose. My first red flag should have been that I was the only parent volunteer. I understand why now. Lesson learned. (Although I did continue to go on all of the class trip offered for all three kids the whole time they were in school, after this trip I knew to say the rosary first for strength!) Basically, it was just the teacher and I herding small, very energetic children for several “blocks.” Half way through the tour of various buildings in town, we stopped at the 911 center to learn the process there, and unfortunately one of the girls accidentally fell. Out of concern, all of the kids rushed to flock around her, but they inadvertently blocked the adults from helping. So I then herded the children to a conference room in order for the teacher and 911 EMT’s to help her. When we got into the room and sat down, one of the boys burst into tears and sobbed, “I’ve known her my whole life!” My first thought was, that’s adorable! My second thought was wow, your whole 7 years of life? That’s quite a long time! So I assured him she will be ok, everything is fine. Then another boy burst into tears, so I asked him what’s wrong? He said, “She fell on my sandwich and squished it! It’s in her backpack!” My first thought was why is your sandwich in her backpack? My second thought was, are kids dating in second grade nowadays? Is that why he has her hauling his lunch around for him? I assured him his sandwich would be fine, we would retrieve it for him no problem. I’m assuming it’s only because he knew she was going to be ok that he sounded more upset about his sandwich than her! After eating a somber lunch in the conference room and gathering our sad little troopers, we then walked to the fire hall for a really great tour. But sure enough, when we were standing by the fire trucks the tones went off. The fireman giving the tour yelled, “We have to go, get the kids in the other room!” Well, when the kids heard the loud tones and his serious tone of voice, they ran screaming in 15 different directions! Technically, 14 different directions because two of the girls held hands and took off together running and screaming in a super high pitch. The teacher yelled, “Everyone come with me right now!” and I took off running for the boys that booked it out of the building through the garage doors as fast as they could go, like their little life depended on it, because I knew there was no way they heard the teacher. After we got them organized, did multiple head counts, and got them safely out of the way, the teacher called the principal to come help us out because the kids’ nerves were shot and she thought his presence would be a nice sense of calm for them. Plus our nerves were shot at that point! The teacher kept saying how thankful she was that I was there, and I was tempted to tell her that actually I think I have an appointment somewhere, I’ll see ya! But of course, no, I rode that train wreck all the way to the end with her. The thing is, I bet that’s a typical day for a teacher! I went home after seeing so much panic and tears that day that I sat in the fetal position for a while; I’m not sure if teachers do that or not at the end of their days? Maybe they become accustomed to that lifestyle? I’ll stick to painting. Nobody runs screaming in 14 different directions while I paint…at least not that I’m aware of. Maybe people are just too polite to tell me that they do? It was supposed to be a great day, but life happens. I’m just not used to experiencing it with such a large responsibility! So, for all the teachers out there on the front line, thank you for all that you do for our kids to keep them safe while providing their education and everything else needed as well! Happy Teacher’s Appreciation Day!! Also, for all of you Moms out there who have herded your children safely from place to place, assured them that their squished sandwich is still going to be ok to eat, and prevented your kids from trying to run out screaming in front of a fire truck, Happy Mother’s Day and thank you for all that you do to make this world a better place!!