Mr. Kindergarten Husband

I am a Kindergarten Teacher. When I say that, most people look at me with new eyes. ‘Aww. You must have fun every day,’ they say. When I was engaged, my husband thought I had the best job in the whole world. All I did was ‘play’ all day. Heh. Then reality struck. He got out of bed one morning – shortly after our wedding almost 18 years ago – with a huge strip of laminating film stuck to his back as I had been cutting things out while watching television the night before. It was the beginning of the end. He had to deal with a life partner who fielded telephone calls from ‘helicopter parents’ who would ring at any given time of day or night. He saw school supplies and needed items slipped into our shopping cart on a regular basis. There were trips to the book outlet and a guilt analysis of receipts to tell him ‘how much I saved’. There were trips to the pharmacy and the doctor for meds to cover the cold/flu/pink eye that was raging through the school and which I would inevitably catch. There were stacks of oatmeal boxes and shoe boxes and egg cartons and magazines that piled in the dining room waiting to be used for ‘something good’. There were highly stressed ‘report card marking weekends’ that surely became his version of hell on earth. There were the impromptu conversations and ‘conferences’ that arose whenever we ran into a parent from school at the store or the library or the movies. There were the conscriptions to play Santa/clowns/ Mr. Dressup during school events and Kindergarten special occasions. There were constant rereadings of favorite books as I needed practice to get the reading just right. Heh. I think he had Chicka Chicka Boom Boom memorized before I did! There were trips to the hardware, trips to the lumber yard, trips to the Teacher Store…..never complaining….always repeated until a project was ‘just right’. He would cut boat shapes for the transportation project, build a classroom loft, drill holes in popsicle sticks for the Christmas projects, hunt for the perfect candy bars for our end of the year awards ceremony (Snickers for the one with the best laugh, Bit-O-Honeys for the sweet one, etc.), carry things in and out of school, etc. etc. etc. etc.

Sometimes I take it all for granted. Too much. I appreciate it all. But I never appreciated it more than I did last night.

I had one of those school day moments that brought a lump to my throat…. something that hasn’t happened often of late. Our bus walkers were late. Four Kindy Kiddos were still waiting to be taken to the very confusing bus dismissal area. I asked if they thought they could make it on their own. It was time for them to try it. They would be doing it alone as first graders next year. Big eyes in hooded jackets with backpacks as big as their five year old bodies, they nodded their heads. Hold hands and stick together, I told them and walked them to the back exit door. I stood and looked out in to the sunny spring afternoon and watched as Jamie and Michael and Melinda and Evan* bounced up the sidewalk in two twosomes, holding hands and chatting amiably as they headed for their buses. Little birds out of the nest and they didn’t even know it. The lump started then. How sweet to be privy to the beginnings of independence all wrapped up in security and innocence. Who to tell about this picture? Teachers see this kind of thing every single day. Sometimes it’s gets old when it comes from someone else.

The picture stayed in my head and the lump in my throat as I cleaned up my room and put things out for the next school day. It stayed as I drove home and listened to the middle school and fifth grade doings from my own children. It stayed as I made spaghetti for dinner. It stayed until we were in the car and headed for another soccer practice.

In the quiet of the car – a new novelty with two new handheld computer games in tow – we talked about our day. I described the picture of my four little birds and their venture out into the big old ‘world’ on their own and the lump in my throat threatened to spill over. I looked over at my Mr. Kindergarten Husband and he was smiling the smile of one who absolutely understood. Yes….I do take it for granted sometimes.

*Names were changed to respect the privacy of my students.

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One Comment on “Mr. Kindergarten Husband”

  1. marymurtz Says:

    This was beautiful. As a former pre-school teacher, I could relate to a tiny part of it.


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