Friday, September 30, 2011

You Can Do It!

Ready! Get set! Go! Gabby ran her fifth fun run. Her Grandma was volunteering for her seventh.

Each year the grades lines up beneath the flags. The volunteers stand at the line and mark each round when a child crosses. I'm pretty good at this after seven years. A lot of parents have come and gone as well as the students who go on to middle school.

"This is my first year to volunteer," said the woman next to me. She was tentative with her marker. You can tell a season veteran by the swiftness with which she marks the tags on the backs of the children who stop at her station.

The Macarena is playing. I sway with the music and yell at the kids, "Come on 4th Graders!!!!!" Next comes the Chicken Dance. I flap with the kids as they flap past the flags. 10.....11....12.... The laps were marked off and kids began to drag.

"Let's go 4th graders!" I yelled. "You can do it!"

Hm. None of the other five parents were yelling for the kids. No one else was cheering them on. And, I guess no one else wanted to do the chicken dance. My daughter, two people away from me, was probably disclaiming me.

When I yelled, the children picked up speed and smiled. I noticed more and more that the same kids came to me to be marked. I had hoped my enthusiasm would reach the other parents, but it didn't. I could have clammed up, I guess, but why start after seven years!?

Sometimes we pull back afraid to be different, to stand out from the crowd. For many parents, this just isn't their thing. For this grandma, it is a way to be involved.

"Grammy, it's time to dance like we did last year!" Gabby said at the end of the race. I thought maybe we should pass this year.

I will never be the Grandma who sits on the sidelines. Next year I will cheer on the 5th graders and mark up my last year of the Fun Run.

"I had a wonderful time," said the new volunteer. Maybe I can win volunteer cheerleaders over one at time.

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