I pulled up to the front of the elementary school. Since I’d had foot surgery a couple weeks before, I elected to stay in the car. I turned to my daughter, a kindergartener, and said, “You’ll be okay walking in by yourself, won’t you, honey?”
“Of course, Mommy. I’m a big girl.”
I’d thrown on a t-shirt and sweat pants. A large cast covered my left foot, and to complete my ensemble, I had on a bulky blue walking shoe I fastened with big strips of Velcro. The last thing I intended to do was show my face – I didn’t go anywhere without makeup, and this morning I hadn’t even had time to run a comb through my hair.
On the front porch of the school, a young boy bounced a basketball. The thought crossed my mind that he probably shouldn’t be doing that. Would he hit my child as she tried to pass?
She got out, and I rolled down the window and yelled up the front walk. “Please. Watch out for my daughter.”
Too late. Just as she got about halfway across, the ball bounced – right off my daughter’s head. It seemed as if everything went into slow motion. The ball hit her so hard her body went airborne. Her head banged into the brick wall on the side of the porch, and then she crumpled to the hard cement.
Before I knew what I’d done, I’d thrown the car into ‘Park’ and headed up the front walk.
When the boy saw me coming, his eyes grew bigger than saucers – more like dinner plates. I must have been some sight with my eyes blazing, my uncombed hair flying, and hobbling as fast as I could.
He threw the front door open, and ran down the hallway. I picked my crying daughter up, and hurried her inside. Her classroom was the first one inside the front door, and in spite of my protests, she ran to her desk, her tears already drying.
I whirled around and headed for the principal’s office. As I hurried from the room, I called over my shoulder to the teacher, “I’ll be back in a minute.”
The boy from the front porch had disappeared. I imagine after seeing the look on my face, he’d headed for safety.
Anger flowed through me like a raging river. Who had allowed that boy to play out front? Shouldn’t he have been in class? By the time I limped to the office, I had really worked up a case of righteous indignation. What parent wouldn’t be overcome with anger if they saw their child hurt or mistreated?
I guess Principals get used to dealing with raging maniacs, ‘er, I mean parents. She assured me no other children would play on the front porch. I forced myself to calm down by taking a few deep breaths.
I went back to my daughter’s room, and filled the teacher in on the situation. She assured me she’d watch my precious child, who said, “Mommy, I’m fine. Really. You can go on home.” Was it just me or was she rushing me out the door?
I hobbled back out to my car, and felt the blood rush to my face. Only then did I remember how disheveled I looked and realize how badly my foot throbbed. What was I thinking?
Although I confronted the Principal about what I considered lack of supervision, somehow I'd managed to keep my anger from getting totally out of control. Thank God.
I’d embarrassed my daughter enough for one day.
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