I’ve always bragged that I never get sick. And it used to be, back in the day, that I never did! The secretary would tease me when I DID call in sick, and ask what was really happening.
I spent most of my life thinking about how odd it was that people DID get sick. Why was it that some people were sick ALL THE TIME? I would shake my head and thank God for my super-immune system.
Over the years I’ve been sneezed on, coughed on, fallen on and puked on. I’ve always been surprised that most of the germs have avoided me altogether; until yesterday.
We’ve had a crazy stomach flu running rampant in the building. It’s moved like a Ninja from room to room, child to child and teacher to teacher. I didn’t pay too much attention to it, save for the horrible incident that involved Stanley, a garbage can and my inability to reach him in time last week.
Then Monday Poppy came in all excited to share about her brother’s birthday party. “We had SO much fun! There were tons and tons of people there and we had a bouncy house and TEN people threw up from the bouncy house!” She was all smiles as she proceeded to go on and on about the party. I was enthralled by her story and just can’t get enough of her. "You love me, don't you Ms. Smythe?" she always says. I always agree.
Then yesterday the Ninja made its move. About lunchtime my stomach started rumbling. I excused myself more than once and knew my room was in the capable hands of my student teacher. Then, at 1:30 a wave washed over me and I saw stars. I was convinced I was going to toss some cookies in the classroom and panicked for a minute. The kids were walking out the door for gym, and took a few minutes to lay down on the carpet and compose myself. (I know, I know, but it was my only option. And apparently, the germs were already INSIDE my body…)
After about 15 minutes or so I felt a bit better, and sat at the table and waited for gym to be over and for the kids to board their buses. I was a bit woozy, but managed to clean the room a bit, pack my teacher bag and gently made my way out the door.
I walked out towards the parking lot and felt another wave rush over me. This time, I could feel the cookies as they made their way to the exit ramp.
I was walking down the pathway- my car in sight – when my little Poppy ran over to me! She was playing on the playground with her mom and wanted to say goodbye. I told her I was not feeling well, and she turned and ran back.
I was ALMOST at my car when it happened. I tossed my cookies like it was an Olympic event. I tossed them beside my car with Poppy, her mother, other moms and ALL of the children from the after-school program watching from the playground. When I composed myself I looked up towards Poppy and saw her mom holding her and shielding her as if she has just witnessed a horrible train wreck and didn’t want her to see the carnage.
And so now when Poppy remembers first grade she probably won’t remember the field trips, the performances, the laughing, the crafts, the dancing, the singing and the learning.
Nope. She’ll remember the day Mrs. Smythe threw up like a six year-old all over the parking lot one fine spring day.