I love the kids' school. It's not perfect, but most of the time they nail it. One of the things I most appreciate is their focus on the school community. Every Thanksgiving, they partner with a local church to provide Thanksgiving for families that might not otherwise have one. The church provides the turkey, and the school community collects everything else. Each grade level has an assignment--right down to the cranberry sauce.
The School Improvement Team then assembles the boxes, and this year I am a part of the team. Families were invited to help, and both Issa and Evan wanted to come. We talk a lot about sharing and community and belonging to each other, and I am always grateful when they have the opportunity to be a part of that.
As it happens, they were the only kiddos there last night. As it also happens, the packing was pure chaos. The donations, which were abundant, had been sorted, but there were a lot of cooks in the kitchen, which resulted in three different packing methods happening at the same time. One person started a bucket brigade system to fill boxes. Someone else started assigning people boxes to fill with each type of item, and someone else started assigning people items to put in every box. It was just as insane as it sounds. All well meaning, but too many people on a small room and no point person.
Consequently, I started literally catching cans of vegetables from the bucket brigade leader and passing them to the kids who were running back and forth counting cans in boxes and making sure everyone was getting what they needed. I even saw Issa switch some cans. When I asked her why, she had noticed that some boxes had one can of multiple different kinds of vegetables, so she was making sure everything was at least in pairs. I love that girl.
At one point, Evan got bonked in the head with a box of stuffing. His response: "It's okay; I'm a ninja in training. I'm tough." The teacher wanted to take him home forever.
Somehow, all of the boxes were filled and double checked, and we started to move them to the pick-up location, which is when further hilarity ensued. The kids were going to teamwork moving a box, but when they picked it up the bottom completely fell out. Their faces were priceless, and the room erupted in laughter. As it turns out, that box hadn't been reinforced with tape--oops. I was so proud of my kids who just laughed and started chasing cans.
It was an evening of gratitude--for a school that cares about its families, for kids that can roll with the punches, and for having a moment to count my blessings in the spirit of the season.