Years ago, when Ella was in kindergarten there was this family that insisted on standing outside the school each morning to high five each and every single student that walked through the doors. Grandma, mother, father, and yes, even baby brother, slowed down the process of getting inside the school. At the beginning of the year, I thought that they were going to do this for the first week or so to give all the new students an added boost, but months into the school year, this family still was slapping every single little unwashed hand that passed through the threshold.
I hoped that this family would come down with a virus or two, but they all had the immune systems of champions, which made me dislike them all the more. Every morning I would stand impatiently in the rain, getting wet and cold because of this family’s compulsion to “touch” children. My neurotic notion that someone might snatch my child, made it impossible to leave Ella standing in line (with her classmates and the teacher), I needed to see her physically cross through the entrance to the school before I could walk away. I stood disgruntled, eyes of daggers, waiting for my daughter to get by this family, everyday.
I would stand still and silent, but in my head I was screaming to Ella hoping that she wold connect with me, maybe by mental telepathy. Everyday, I would will her with all my power to ignore the family of high fivers and leave them hanging, like losers. I would wager daily bets inside my head. But for 8 months, everyday, Ella slapped every single hand and I would walk away despondent.
I sometimes wonder about this family. I imagine that they are still high fiving at most everything. In my mind, it would seem that they high five after doing the dishes, mowing the yard, or maybe after a high fiber meal. The thought of this just makes me shutter. I have tried to teach my daughter right and correct all this excessive use of skin slapping. My home is a “no high five zone”, nor is it a home for its relatives like the fist or the elbow bump. I am teaching my daughter to express joy by using her words or by texting them like a normal human being.