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Saturday, December 22, 2012


Our principal, Mr. L, called me into his office yesterday morning before school to discuss the awards assembly that would kick off the day.
     "I think the kids need a little fun.  We all need some joy," he said.
He was right.  It had been quite a week.  Our district, though on the opposite coast from last week's tragedy, felt the ripples.  There were threats against one of our schools and the mood was tentative.

The awards assembly started and progressed as scheduled, with lots of kids getting citizenship awards and such.  Then came time for the Teachers' Ugly Sweater Contest.  Not owning any ugly clothing myself (har-de-har-har), I always serve as the emcee.  You can imagine the the laughter and cheers when straight-laced, wears-a-tie-every-single-day Mr L. came out in the most hideous sweater the world has ever seen.  I could try to describe it, but I am still trying to wash the image from my eyes.  Let's just say that it was a women's sweater, probably an XS, blinged up with so much BLING it would make my Granny (for whom there was NEVER enough glitter) say, "Well, that's a little over the top now, isn't it?"

Not only that, Mr L. had arranged for the current reigning Ugly Sweater Champion (who had been transferred to another site due to budget cuts) to attend the assembly to defend her title. The teachers laughed (and cried a little), the kids cheered, the whole auditorium rang with joyous laughter.

My heavy heart felt so, so much lighter.  And bigger.

We all need a little joy.

The rest of the day was pretty magical.  My students participated in "la Tour de France", which consisted of several French inspired activities including a visit to "le Cafe"(the empty room next door) where they got to eat crepes. Yum! (My students are in a World Language Programme studying French, you know.) One student said as he left, (after thanking me for the holiday Smencil*),  "Mrs. Thomas, this was the Best. Day. Ever." and he proceeded to get the kids chanting, "Best day ever!  Best day ever!"

So many hugs and so much joy.

The day ended with my daughter's birthday party--seven thirteen year-olds making their own ugly sweatshirts, racing through Target at night with an envelope of money and 10 minutes to get what they'd need to participate in the Thomas Amazing GingerBread Challenge.  As they stood in the checkout line, two adorable four year-old girls came up to them and said, "Your sweaters are so pretty.  They make us smile."


So today (my first day of vacation) I am sitting in a snugly sweater, nursing the beginnings of a horrible cold but feeling so thankful and joyful.  We never really know when those moments will spill over into our lives and fill us up.  We are smart if we can recognize them.


This is Henry trying to play Santa.  Joy.
*(best gift for kids EVER!  A Pencil Kids LOVE!)


Michelle McLean said...

wonderful post! The world does need a little more joy - what a wonderful day for your students :) And your daughter's bday party sounds so fun! I'll have to keep that in mind lol

I hope you have a very merry Christmas (and I hope that cold disappears!) :)

Catherine Denton said...

You're right, joy is SO needed. And I love that your principle was willing to humiliate himself for the greater good. :) Who can argue with Best Day Ever? Merry Christmas, Shelley. May joy find you all season long.
Catherine Denton

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Joy to you, my friend. I hope the cold goes away fast (tortilla soup should help!) and you have a lovely Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like it was a joyful day. : )

I hope you had a great Christmas in spite of the oncoming cold. Feel better!