Fringe Benefits of Kindergarten

[Liam->]’s kindergarten class had an open house early this week. I was, unfortunately, unable to attend, as it was my night to take Emily out solo for Chinese food and a dip in the river. Since the dinner was a buffet, we were in serious danger of sinking right to the bottom of the river due to the leaden weight of dim sum and egg rolls in our bellies, but eventually triumphed over General Tso’s attempts to drown us.

I found out later that evening that Liam was quite disappointed I didn’t come to his open house. By way of consolation, I told him that I’d walk to school with him in the morning and take the tour before class began. That seemed to mollify him, and he drifted off to sleep happy.

He awakened in the morning and wolfed a bowl of barely-fit-for-human-consumption Shrek 2 cereal while I called and told my relieved-sounding workout partner that I wouldn’t be able to make it to the gym that morning. Liam and I then walked down to his classroom, and he proudly showed off his desk, his poetry journal, and the other highlights of his first brush with academia.

While I was standing around looking faintly out-of-place among all the teachers and little people, one of his classmates — a tiny blonde girl with a beatific smile — evidently decided that I was in need of bucking up. Without a word, she walked up to me, beaming eyes fixed on my face, and wrapped her arms around my knees. I was so startled that this child who had no idea who I was would welcome me so enthusiastically that I could only manage a “Thank you, sweetie” and a pat on the back before she had run off to attend to other angelic errands.

I’m reminded that Kindergarten means “children’s garden.” It looks like they’re growing a good crop of kids in this one.