While walking down the hallway “Mr. Clean,” custodian, Lee mentions, “Hey ya, looks like ya got a little bounce in your step today. What ya got in those shoes?”
I laugh and say something kind of incoherent about my rubber soles while I’m walking past. Maybe I was. Bouncing.
Later in 7th period, I make my students laugh while discussing biographies. We’re conversing about controversial figures and someone brings up Kool-Aid in connection to David Koresh and I correct the misconception, informing him of Jim Jones. I say, “Jim Jones is the Kool-Aid man, not the…” and here I do a giant bounce forward, a dramatic bursting sweep of my arms, and a, “Hey hey hey, Kids…” in a voice that sounds freakishly akin to Bill Cosby’s Fat Albert, “Kool-Aid man.” They laugh and I continue.
About an hour later in the same 2nd half of the double period a student asks for a tissue. I walk over to the tall cabinet, grabbing a chair with a swing and extend myself up to grab the box. A fairly simple task, receives unexpected responses…
“Whoa, easy…” with some laughter.
“See, Ms. Kitchen acts like a teenager with her movements. My mom and you are the same age and she would never move like that.”
“I don’t know what to tell you. I just got a box of tissue,” I respond. It truly was just me reaching for a box of tissue. I don’t know what all the hype was about, but the words made me think.
It used to crack me up how excited the sixth grade kids would be in previous years to see me jump in with them during double-dutch or their enthusiasm if they got me to do a cart wheel on the grass during Friday free time. Their challenges to have me race against them in the bounce house obstacle course at the end of the year. I felt the ramifications of that endeavor many a years, with a pulled neck or back muscle or swift kick by a wayward sixth grade foot to the face. However, when all is said and done, I wouldn’t change a thing. Most notably because I squashed those little sixth graders in the obstacle challenges most of the time and the glory was worth all the swift kicks they could (accidentally?) muster.
I guess I’m thinking about movement and lighthearted play. My mind races and I could do cart wheels for days. I’ll take any bounce house challenge and even bounce down the halls, apparently.
I don’t want to lose that. No matter what age I am. The age that I am doesn’t even come into play. I want to have it. That lighthearted enthusiasm. That bounce. I’m game.