It’s Thanksgiving time here in the states. A time when we gather together to feast on food till our bellies ache and be thankful for Aunt Mable on our left and Uncle Clyde on our right.
This year I got to do something extra special to celebrate the occasion. Being this is the first year that both my kids are in the same school, I was able to donate my time for not one but TWO big Thanksgiving Day events.
Showing up bright and early, I immediately wished I was one of those organized moms that had made it to Starbucks before the morning kid drop-off. I really wanted to be holding one of those nice tall cups of coffee like the other moms. But anyway…
My daughter’s class had been learning all about Native Americans, so they were celebrating the day with all sorts of Native American activities! They had made outfits for the big event, each little Indian having been given a special name. My daughter was Quiet Deer. Apparently they haven’t gotten to know her that well after three months.
The volunteers were each given a duty. I was assigned mom in-charge of clay bowl making. I headed out to the play yard, past the teepee, to my fire pit of blazing tissue paper to check out what would be my new digs for the next hour.
Okay, I should point out that I was stepping out of my element here. I help my kids at home, but volunteering at school – not so much. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not because I don’t want to help. I tried with my eldest kid, but he always had some type of meltdown when he had to share me with other children. So, my career as a volunteer was very short lived. But today I will show the kids no fear! I will not be eaten alive by five-year-olds. I’m a big girl, right?
My tribe gathered around and we dug into our slimy clay. We rolled and kneaded and rolled some more. The kids got dirt in their clay. Not really by choice, mind you. But it added a touch of authenticity. Next we were supposed to use our thumbs to shape the clay into a bowl and then carve in a unique pictograph around the outside. Now, as it turns out, the kids had made coffee can drums and were itching to become the next Buddy Rich. So being in a hurry, many bowls ended up as a lump of clay with a random hole punched in the center. And their pictograph? A quick squiggly line that was supposed to be a snake. So much for fine craftsmanship. But hey, it was still fun.
One of the girls kept a close eye on me the whole time. She knew I was trouble from the moment I walked through the door. Smart kid.
There were many Native American tasks to be completed, so our tribes wandered about the kindergarten plains to fish, hunt buffalo, pick cranberries, mill corn for flatbread, make beaded anklets, and beat their decorated coffee can drums outside the teepee.
Eventually the children returned to the classroom for a quick story before recess. My daughter (official blog name: Monkey) was a total klingon! But a cute one. Monkey thought by hanging on to my leg I could never go home. Her friend liked what she saw and jumped in on the action as well. Now I had two klingons, and one of them wasn’t even mine. But there’s nothing like the arrival of recess with playtime on the jungle gym to unlatch a klingon. Good information should you ever need it.
Having spent a fine morning with young Native American warriors, my mission was only partially complete as I headed over to meet my eldest (official blog name: Gamer) for his big Thanksgiving Day feast. The volunteers for this meal went all out! The MPR (multi-purpose room) was decked out beautifully. And the meal – wow, just wow!
Monkey’s class was happy getting hot dogs, but here they had served up the works. Tons of turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, corn, stuffing, rolls, green beans, you name it. And, of course, plenty of pie! Wowza!
I managed to be a good girl and didn’t gorge. My tummy is already showing me how unhappy it is with the hours I spend sitting in chairs working on my writing. I pretended not to be emotionally hurt when Gamer, the child who begged me to be there, spent most of his time laughing and joking with his friends. He hardly noticed I was there. But that’s part of growing up. And I was thrilled to see him making friends, something that hasn’t come easy for him.
At the end of his celebration I received a kiss to the cheek and big hug goodbye. I’m glad I went. It was a very special day shared with my children and a great way to remember what I’m most thankful for – my family.
Have you done anything special with someone this year to celebrate the holiday?
Will you be traveling for the holiday? Or hosting a Thanksgiving dinner? Are you stuck at this late hour on what to serve? If so, here’s a nice little gem I recently found in my travels. 🙂