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A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

Lunch With The Kindergarteners

May 17th, 2007

Last Tuesday I spent the day in Annie and Emma’s classroom. It had been a long time since I’d done any cutting, gluing or coloring. Emma said I did pretty good at coloring. But my gluing needs work. 

And what I wouldn’t give to have a mandatory nap time again. How great would it be to stretch out on the floor at 1 o’clock every afternoon? Annie and Emma were so giggly during rest time that they were getting me in trouble. I almost had to pull a ticket and get my name put on the board.

But before rest time I got to do lunch with the kindergarteners. 

Whatever else you have to say about school lunches you can always count on interesting menu combinations. Give me a week and a stack of cook books and I’d never think of corn and blue Jell-O cubes as good compliments to a beef and bean burrito. (If you cringe reading the words “blue Jell-O cubes” and “beef and bean burrito” then, trust me, the visual would be entirely too much for you.)

I squeezed into place at the table between Annie and Emma. Our dining companions for the next 30 minutes were Alissa, Alessa, and Zach. Almost in unison the five of them freed their yellow plastic straws from the cellophane wrapper by pounding them on the table, not unlike veteran smokers tamping down a fresh pack of cigarettes. Together they expertly stab their “bag” of white, chocolate or strawberry milk and take a drink. 

Annie starts the dinner conversation by informing everyone that she has a really, really, really loose tooth. “See?” She wiggles it back and forth.

Alissa, her jet black hair pulled back into a ponytail, says, “I lost 4 teeth already.” She smiles to verify her claim.

Zach, a brown-haired dry wit with a future as an attorney or a stand-up comedian deadpans, “I lost a thousand already.”

“A thousand? Wow. You must have had a lot of teeth to start with.”

“I so did.”

Alessa, not to be confused with Alissa who sits next to her, listens as she proceeds to take the fruit on her tray and make her own fresh squeezed orange juice.

“If my tooth comes out tonight then the tooth fairy will come! Daddy, what’s the tooth fairy’s real name?”

“Gertrude. At least that’s what it says on her driver’s license. But she doesn’t really like that name so she goes by Tooth Fairy.”

Strangely, this makes sense to them.

Emma takes a bite out of her apple. “Where does the Tooth Fairy live, Daddy?”

A good question. Everyone knows Santa resides at the North Pole. But what about the Tooth Fairy?

“Well, she travels all the time. And she’s got to cover both coasts and everything in between so she lives in the middle of the country. In Kansas City, I think.”

“The Wizard of Oz is in Kansas…..did you know my birthday is in October?”

Nobody does random conversations like kindergarteners.

Zach stares at me. “My birthday is in October. I’m having a party. You wanna come? I’m inviting the whole world.”

Alessa, done squeezing oranges, brushes her tousled dirty blonde hair off her face. It falls right back again. She smiles at me. Then picks up her yellow straw and begins doing chocolate milk titrations into her blue Jell-O cubes.

It’s time to clean up and line up. A quick look around says I hope the trash can is hungry for beef and bean burritos.  The girls head left and I head right. Along the way two second grade boys who don’t know me but must think I’m big enough say, “Hey! Can you help us with this?” 

“Sure.”

Two sealed fruit roll ups. Only after they press them into my hand do I realize they’ve spent considerable spit trying to open them with their teeth. Thankfully I don’t have to resort to using my own incisors to free the fruit.

At that moment Annie runs up with a shout. “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy! My tooth came out!” She smiles, pulls down her lower lip and shows me the empty space. “Is it bleeding?”

“No, Annie. Not bleeding.”

For the rest of the day it was show and tell for Annie. “Hi! I’m Annie. I lost a tooth! Look!”

God, thank you for little girls and boys. For their tousled hair and sticky fingers. For wiggly teeth and the Tooth Fairy. For their love of life and delight in the present moment. I learn so much from them.

One wiggly tooth down. And, God willing, lots of wide-eyed wonder to go.