Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Looking For A Leprechaun

Did you know that leprechauns love to attend kindergarten class? Not every day. That would be boring and routine. No, the little green goblins only make an appearance on March 17th. And only if you're lucky enough to be in Mrs. Anderson's class. My son was just that lucky.

Around the end of February the paper came home putting us on notice. Leprechauns invade her classroom every year. Could we help our children with a special project? Anything to trap and keep a rascally leprechaun. It wouldn't be easy we were warned. They were pretty quick and nimble. My son loved this idea. He has my Irish heart beating inside him and the idea of owning his own leprechaun was like a dream come true. With big, fancy ideas of what to do with all the gold he would seize from his captive we began the project. Less thought and effort went into the construction of Fort Knox. He created a rainbow with a fake pot of gold. The idea was that when the leprechaun came over to check out the gold he would fall into the pot and get stuck. I volunteered in the classroom and I was there when my son warned his teacher that leprechauns were magic and it may not be possible to catch them. She smiled and looked over at me as if to ask, "Are you getting this?" His enthusiasm was contagious and I couldn't wait until he came home from school on the 17th to hear what happened.

With too much excitement to keep contained in his little body he danced around as he told me about the day the leprechauns came to class. They stayed hidden, as leprechauns do, until all the kids went out to recess. When the class came back in they could tell the leprechauns had been there. Chairs were flipped upside down. Best of all, the leprechauns left little, green footprints everywhere. The children's traps had footprints all over them. Clearly, the goblins had been tempted by what they saw, but were smart enough to avoid capture.
"I can't believe he left green footprints. I can't believe I know what a leprechaun's feet look like.", my son said over and over, with big eyes shining.

Sadly, the leprechauns only attack the kindergartners and in the first grade he was disappointed to find out there would be no more leprechauns. I bought a tiny statue of one for him to put out on St. Patrick's Day and he did so in hopes it would attract a curious leprechaun. A couple of years have passed since that day. The leprechaun statue sits out in my kitchen everyday. A reminder to embrace whimsy.

So, Mrs. Anderson, while I didn't say anything at the time, I was getting it. I was getting how you took a gaggle of kids setting out down the road of education and taught them more than the days of the week, how to spell and count to 100. You taught them to believe in magic if only for a day. You taught them to believe in things that can't always be seen and put a smile on the faces of a bunch of kids. Thank you.

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