Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday.  Her school lets parents come in and have lunch with students, and she’s been asking me to come in for a while.  Apparently a lot of schools do this now.  I never remember my mom or dad coming into our school cafeteria.  Then again, we’re much more involved in the schools than our parents ever were – but that’s a subject for another time.

We decided we would buy lunch, since that’s what Lea does every day.  When I got to her school, they showed me where to sit and wait for her class.  I was a little early so I got to watch other classes coming in and out of the cafeteria.  These are little kids, kindergarten through maybe 3rd grade.  Nothing changes.  The girls are all walking in line, giggling a little bit, but pretty calm, pretty together. The boys are jumping around, can’t sit still, whacking each other.

Lea was excited to see me – she took my hand and led me into the lunchroom.  Lea buys her lunch every day – she showed me how it’s done in the lunch line.  She got pizza, pears and a drink – I got what I thought was a chicken sandwich.  Lea entered her code in a machine at the end of the line and the computer said, "happy birthday!"  All the kids and the cafeteria staff around got excited and wished her a happy day too.  Very nice.

We sat at a quiet table – excuse me, a Quiet Table.  A color coded cup in on the tables lets you know whether you’re allowed to talk and at what volume.  I think.  I never did figure that out – a look around the room showed the cup colors didn’t match up with what was happening at the tables. 

My chicken turned out to be fish (no wonder Lea skipped it) but the pears were good.  Lea impressed me by passing on dessert – she says she only gets it on Fridays and I wasn’t about to try to change what seems like a pretty good habit.  Of course, she only ate her pears and three bites of her pizza.  She assured me she wasn’t hungry.  I made a mental note to always have a big snack ready when she gets off the school bus.

After lunch we were off to Lea’s class – I brought a book to read for her birthday and then to donate.  Albuquerque Turkey.  I highly recommend it for your Thanksgiving reading library (what, you don’t have one?)  It’s a story you sing.  To the tune of "My Darling Clementine."  Lea & I read the book to the class together and then I gave out little prizes.  We’ve decided not to bring in cupcakes for birthdays anymore so I went to the party store and got some cute little erasers, tattoos and other goofy prizes. 

Then it was back to school and studies for these hard working first graders.  Me, I’m stuck with the Turkey book song in my head.  Albuquerque is a turkey and he’s feathered and he’s fine….