Weighing in and measuring up.
By Elizabeth Thompson
I gave my son’s teacher a mental, "Huh?"
I’m an essayist, not a weights and measure person. I wanted the writing gig! And it was painfully obvious to me that Mrs. J. knew her way around a gym. I don’t even own a scale. I did at one time, and then I began birthing children and soon found myself losing touch with my scale. I would stop and see it sitting there looking neglected in the corner of the bathroom and I would feel compelled to use it, only to find myself staring at another 5 extra pounds.
We sort of drifted further away from each other after that.
It moved out of the bathroom and into the hall closet, until we finally parted ways and broke all ties after the birth of my fourth child.
I mentally whined, "Why can’t Mrs. J. do the weights and measures? She was playing with the tape measure earlier. 38-28-38 is what she said. I want to help the kiddies decorate their journals!"
But, instead, I heard myself say, Um...Uh...Okay."
Actually, I found weights and measures quite enjoyable. I was in charge of creating an impromptu growth chart in the hallway just outside the classroom. I staggered each child’s measurement, made little arrows and even drew little hearts after the girls’ names and smiley faces after the boys’ names and really played up the fact that each child would continue to grow – no matter where exactly they landed on the chart. The children were so cute with their wide-eyed looks at "how high" they were compared to their classmates.
If I can’t write, at least I can play with the markers!
Alas, old wounds run deep and I soon found myself stealing glances at the scale as if it were an old acquaintance or long lost friend. I had this huge urge to step on it, just once, for old time’s sake. I wanted to throw caution to the wind... feel the rush of anticipation…and was flushed with excitement at the thought of flirting with danger and wondering once more, "How much do I weigh?"
I looked to my left –- the children were occupied with free play and the teacher was cleaning up the painting area.
I looked to my right –- Mrs. J. was taking another group back to their writing projects.
I quickly tapped the scale with my left foot. It flashed its familiar greeting -- 000.
A shiver ran through me.
What could happen? How bad could it be?
"Oh, screw this!"
And I stepped on.
The numbers began to move, slowly at first, and dared to believe that perhaps it wasn’t going to be so bad -- rather painless, I thought. Then I lifted and placed my other foot on.
A few minutes later I was sitting at the snack table, surrounded by 25 children, angry as all get out for allowing myself to be seduced, once again, and felt bitterly scorned by a piece of digital technology.
Spring is just around the corner and that means that bathing suit season isn’t too far behind, but no matter. I was ready for a break from the cold, bundled up existence of winter and looked forward to the enormous amount of yard work that lie ahead. After considering the hours spent behind the lawnmower that could be added to my exercise regime, I finally made peace with myself...and the scale. I continued to sip my water, while my son and his friends enjoyed their sweets, and reflected on the many ways of preparing tofu.
That’s when I saw Mrs. J. take a bite out of her fourth Munchkin.
(Insert heavy sigh here)
Later that afternoon, I picked up my father and the baby and headed over to my two older girls’ elementary school. After retrieving the girls and dropping my father at his car, my three year old asked, "Did you remember to bwing me a Munchkin?"
Oh darn it! No. I ran out of the classroom so fast, I forgot the rest of the donuts I had promised Hope for being a good girl for Papa.
"Okay. Hang on. We’ll stop and get some more."
(Insert cringe here)
The smell of freshly baked was just too much for my hungry brood, so I opened the box of donut holes and began distributing them –- a jelly for Hope, a chocolate for Glen, a powdered for Holly -- while Heather elected to wait for a glass of milk. I turned the ignition and soon found myself staring down into the open box of donuts sitting on my lap. I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply.
I looked to the left, glanced to the right and...
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