... with his cowboy uniform.
Six years ago, (so hard to believe it really has been that long) I entered the office of what would soon be our local school. I wanted to register my older son for the first grade and get him on any wait-lists immediately so that he could attend the school closest to our new home. The school secretary told us we had to register through the district, and then bring the paperwork to her.
Just a few days later, I returned with my completed paperwork. There was a different gal behind the counter. She said she was a teacher at the school, but also the daughter of the school secretary. She was just watching the office while her mom ran an errand. She wasn't sure what the next step would be for me, but promised her mom would get back to me. Three years later, that gal became my youngest son's 1st grade teacher.
Thankfully, we were granted admission to our preferred school. (Our next-door neighbor who moved in just a tad after us had to attend a school across town.) We are very, very lucky.
In the last six years, the school secretary has of course been a big part of my boys' lives. From vomiting to forgotten violins, she's been the point person. She's tracked down my son after school to let him know I had a flat tire, and she's comforted him when he's had a bee sting.
This year, she is retiring. She has less than four weeks left of running the school.
This week began "Apple Valley Days," a western-era simulation program for third-graders. My son is happy to dress in sharp boots, cowboy hat, plaid shirt, and kerchief. He brings a basket to school instead of a backpack, and plays the part of "George," a 17-year old eldest sibling to six brothers and sisters.
Yesterday at the pool, he stubbed his toe, ripping off a callus. That was bloody. He wanted to wear flip-flops to school, but I told him there was no way the school would allow that. It was against the dress code as being unsafe. I knew he couldn't wear his cowboy boots, either, because they would constrict the toe too much. We settled on his older brother's slip-on shoes. I figured it would give the toe a bit more breathing room than his usual shoes, but still be "appropriate" for school.
Just a couple hours after school began, the phone rang. The school secretary told me my son's toe was very swollen, and might I bring him some open-toed shoes?
I laughed, and told her we had selected his older brother's shoes in an attempt to help the toe, but figured flip-flops would be against the rules.
Her response was: "Well, the toe needs to breathe. So go ahead and bring him flip-flops. As for it being against the rules: What are they going to do?... Fire me?"
Well played. (And... I'm going to miss her!)