Dadmissions volunteered at his 7 year old's school on Friday. OK I admit it. I had fun. And I only checked my Blackberry a couple of times...in part because the school was built in a freaking canyon with no cell reception...but still... that's points for me.
I spent two hours with the kids coloring and cutting paper and making cool creations. I was really feeling like "Wonder Dad". So I decided to throw one more curve ball my girl's way. At the end of the volunteering, I asked her if she'd mind if I stayed and had lunch with her.
She was beaming.
I remember being in elementary school. If your parents came and stayed for lunch when you were a little kid, that was freaking huge. Those kids became the grand champs, the super kids. I went to school with one friend whose parents were divorced, and his dad would always show up for lunch with a shopping bag of the best, most devilish snacks in the world, to buy the love of his son over lunchtime. I didn't have any great snacks, but it was French bread pizza day and I was determined to bank some more brownie points with my girl. She accepted my invitation for lunch and I got in line with all the kids.
Yes, a 37 year old, 6 foot tall guy, got into line with the second graders to get his tray, to get his French bread pizza, to have lunch with his little girl. The kids thought it was THE coolest thing. They couldn't believe I was lining up with them. They couldn't believe I was going to eat what they were eating.
Maybe it's because they knew what was coming next.
I waited in line with the kids. I walked up to the counter with my daughter. I excitedly told the lunch lady I was there to have lunch with my little girl. And then it happened. She shut me right down.
"I can't sell you lunch till I make sure all the kids get their lunch".
Oh...OK I thought. I mean I literally see you there with fifteen racks of French bread pizza, and a box of frozen pizza on the side with 45,000 more pre-sorted, pre-sliced, just heat and serve pizzas. But there might not be enough for everyone. Hmm. OK. And with that, I was done. I still stayed there for lunch, but sat there sheepishly as all the kids and my daughter enjoyed their lunch. One kid would pick off the pepperoni and then eat the pizza. One kid tore off the entire piece of cheese and then ate the pizza. One kid would take a spoon and make it like a dugout canoe before they ate the pizza.
Sure, I could have waited for the rest of the little kids in the school, another hour for the fifth graders, and then went up again when they still had 44,000 pre-sorted, pre-sliced, just heat and serve pizzas still left. But it wasn't worth it. Maybe she had a point. But maybe she didn't realize it could be the one and only time I get to sit down and have lunch with my kid at school. And that stupid square of pizza was much more than just a stupid square of pizza.
Next time, I'm gonna bring a full pizza in myself so I can have lunch with my kids. I'll even offer extras to the lunch lady because I want to make sure she doesn't run out. :)