Tuesday Traffic at the Dan Ryan
It was Tuesday morning at ten yesterday. Everyone is fed and little man is already showing signs he wants to go 'nap-nap'. Great! My art bag packed, sample paintings wrapped, car loaded. Power bars and water bottle, checked! Grandma is all set to take over the fort while I go and head over to a very important 'meeting'.
I know what you're thinking. What a relief it will be to have some adult time. Not too fast. That day, I was scheduled to meet 25 kindergarten and over sixty first graders for two and a half hours at Beidler Elementary School in West Chicago. I'll be teaching them art.
You got it right. I'll be away from our little man to be with eight dozens more. We live in the south end. To get there, I have to drive fifty minutes if there's no traffic which will be a miracle. Perhaps in I-80, but definitely not at the Dan Ryan expressway.
After an hour of radio tuning, yawning, singing, stretching (while stuck on traffic), I finally made it to the school. Knowing my luck, parking will be far from the entrance. Ka-ching! I was right. Two large paintings, one easel, two bags, what else? All in all, I already have more than forty pounds to carry. At least, none are wiggling around like my little man.
Why won't I just drive close to the entrance, unload my stuff, then park? Good idea, right. Not really. School's parking only accommodates twenty vehicles, the rest have to park at the busy Walnut Street. I was lucky to have found one. Either I drive up close and lose my spot or risk lugging all my stuff twice the distance going back.
Where's hubby when I need him? Far in Indiana working hard to bring home theturkey bacon (that's a metaphor). All sweat paid off when I saw the eager little faces waiting for me. In less than three hours, I basked in the glory of being a celebrity to children five to seven year-old. We got busy with our hands, papers, scissors and paints.
Me, with two dozen happy little artists.
( Didn't got a chance to snap a photo of the sixty eager first graders.)
What did I got in return? A little back-ache, smiles to last for weeks, dozen hugs and over a handful of soon-to-be famous quotes I'll treasure forever.
"What's your name? That is something."
"Where did you came from? That is very very far."
"Can I ask you something?"
"Are you an artist?"
"I'm an artist too, I think."
"Your hair sparkles."
"A chorus of Wooowwww!! (again)."
"You know everything."
"You smell good."
"You smell like flowers."
Your eyes are beautiful. They look like mine.
"My flowers look like leaves."
"Can you take me home with you?"
"Thank you for giving us powers."
(I think he means, 'for teaching us to make flowers'. On second thought, maybe he really meant what he said.)
"Do you live around here? I want to play with you everyday."
"Can I hug you?"
"Me too, can I hug you?"
"Hi, I'm waiting here to give you a hug."
(from the eighty-eighth kid waiting in line)
Who knows, maybe one of them will someday become the President of the United States, or the next Da Vinci. Or become the first man to discover the new ninth planet (in replacement to Pluto). I'll look back and say, I knew that kid.
He gave me a hug when he was five.