Missing School

It was a school night and as the warm water rushed out of the shiny faucet, I climbed into the tub for my bath. I saw the bright pink bottle of bubble bath with that silly bubble guy smiling back at me. I grabbed it and started to unscrew the cap when my Mom walked back in.

“No bubbles tonight.”

“But why, Mommy?!”

“Just not tonight.”

I noticed her eyes looked tired as she turned to grab the shampoo and the cup she always used to rinse my hair. I suddenly felt the waterfall over my head and back, washing over my thick mane, the one she loathed combing out. As I looked up at her and smiled she exclaimed, “Oh NO!!”

The expression on her face turned grim and she quickly grasped my torso with both hands and turned my back to face her. I could feel her eyes as they scanned my little girl body. Then she put her damp palm against my forehead as she pointed out the multitude of red splotches all over me.

“Well, you won’t be going to school tomorrow. Or the next day for that matter…”

Her words struck me like a kick ball to the arm at recess. What? “But I LOVE school”, I thought. It had only been a few weeks but I was already accustomed to the routine and enjoying my new friends. It was there that I was basking in the newness of it all and learning to spell my name. The place where they served chocolate milk every day in the big white cafeteria with the fold-down tables.

If I was not there, who would sit with my friend who had the same Holly Hobby lunch box and thermos? She’d miss me for sure. I was unsure how all my work would get done; I started to cry just thinking about it.

My mom finished rinsing my hair and looked into my brown eyes that matched hers. “Oh honey, it’s alright, you just have the Chicken Pox and it’s very contagious so you cannot go to school for a few days. We just don’t want your friends to get sick too. It’s okay… ” Her voice trailed off and I pouted the entire time she got the tangles out of my hair with my sparkly pink comb.

I was away from school for the rest of that week, lying on the sofa while my mom did her ironing and watched her soap operas, just like the days before school began. I don’t recall feeling that bad, I just remember wanting to be back in my school room, back learning, back with my friends.

When I returned to school the next week I instantly recognized the smells of fresh crayons, Elmer’s glue and construction paper. I sat back in my spot at the half moon-shaped table where my name was spelled out before me, and smiled at my friends. I tried to guess which letter we would learn about that day and looked around the room wondering who gave me the Chicken Pox.

To this day I’m guessing it was one of the “cootie”-laden boys. I’m just sure of it.

For this week’s RemembeRED prompt, we’re asking you to remember kindergarten…


  1. Oh, poor nugget. I was 12 before I got the chicken pox… I think I’d have preferred them at 5, when there was less body to cover.

    “Her words struck me like a kick ball to the arm at recess.” I love this line. So vivid!

    Only one concrit, and it’s a nitpick-y grammar bit. “I don’t recall feeling that badly” should be “I don’t recall feeling that bad.”

    And yes… those cootie-laden boys are ALWAYS to blame!

    Good work!


  2. Oh love this. The school smells, the thought of my own mother ironing and getting me addicted to Another World, the days when missing school meant heartache. Thanks for a ride in the way-back machine.

    My cousin gave me Chicken Pox. So nice of her to share :)

  3. I’m not sure where I caught the chicken pox, but I do know that I gave it to all of my cousins. Actually our moms did it on purpose to get over it. And I had them at Easter and couldn’t go to the egg hunt at church. Boo.

    Great post Elaine. I loved Kindergarten too.

  4. Oh, I remember the chicken pox all too well. I actually got them 2 days before my uncles wedding & I was the flower girl. I loved all the descriptions…made me think back to my lunchbox & thermos. Good times in elementary school! 😉

  5. I remember getting chicken pox the second week of kindergarten. I was so bummed out too because I loved being there. They had awesome sand boxes 😉

  6. Aw, the good ol’ days of chicken pox. So nicely done my friend. xo

  7. I enjoyed this! I had a mom would would do laundry and watch soaps too.

    Small correction, I think “accustom” should be “accustomed”.

    This line, “When I returned to school the next week I instantly recognized the smells of fresh crayons, Elmer’s glue and construction paper.”, totally brought that school smell to my mind.

    Great job!

  8. Aww. Poor little peanut. I love that you loved school so much. So cute. :)

  9. Ahhh, the chicken pox. Dreaded, itchy chicken pox.

    It probably was one of the boys. :/

  10. Hey Laney, I’m thinking of joining in on this one. Does it have to be posted today, or can I put it up tomorrow?

  11. Oh honey, you rocked this one! I was right there with you! I felt what you felt, how much you loved school, what a comfortable place it was for you. And that cooties line? Genius!

    You really dove into the details and the senses here- and it really worked powerfully!

    My favorite part was the last paragraph. i could smell the glue, too. And it was *definitely* one of those boys! :)

  12. Of course it was those germy boys!

    I love how much kindergarteners love school…I wish kids would keep that feeling all the way through.

  13. I just love the word “cootie.” I think we should all start using it again. Just a good word.

    Great writing! Took me back to when I had the chicken pox. I am a little sad they immunize for that now…. I really think it was a big experience for most kids.

    Even though I am glad I don’t have to deal with the kids with chicken pox 😉

  14. I love the way you used smell to evoke memory!
    And this line makes me smile: “Her words struck me like a kick ball to the arm at recess.”
    Great job.

  15. I got the chicken pox later on and remember how awful they were!
    You must have really loved meeting all of those new friends to want to go back quickly

  16. Nice description of a snapshot in time…bath time and a mom’s discovery of Chicken Pox on her child. My favorite lines were, “my brown eyes that matched hers” and “the smells of fresh crayons, Elmer’s glue and construction paper.” Nice write.

  17. My brother brought it home from preschool and gave it to me. Then I passed it to all of kindergarten!

  18. I didn’t get chicken pox until I was 13! And that was brutal staying home from school then!!!

  19. i had chicken pox in first grade, and i felt the same way you did about missing school. check on the holly hobby lunchbox and cootie laden boys too! great job!