It was one of those times that makes you want to cry and smile at the same time you're scratching your head.
Let me back up and say why .
All this year I've been a volunteer art teacher in my son's school. (But not in his class; that could spell disaster.) The little Christian upstart school has had no money in the budget to pay me, so it's my volunteer parent job. (Every parent has one.) If you're a teacher of any subject, you know how easy it is to spend--or to want to spend--extra money for things that will enrich your students' learning experience. Or bring "oohs" and "aahs" and smiles that are worth every penny.
However, my husband asked me to please not volunteer both my time AND money this year for the nine kids in my middle school art class. Our four children are costing enough to educate. I said okay. I would behave. I would honor his wishes and also the wishes of my principal to teach "the grammar of art." Concepts and skills, linked with their history and/or science whenever possible to make it a classical education. No problem. I was up to the challenge.
The only thing I might have to spend money for is the Mother's Day project if I wanted something 3D. And I did NOT want to make flower pots again. Cute as they were a couple years ago at my other school, I am not the kind of person to do the same project twice. There's just too much art out there to be explored to repeat the same thing, right???
But I managed to not spend one penny on supplies except for...
In October I found 16x20 canvas on sale. Perfect for late in the year when the students could handle doing a "big" project. That was $30. Not bad when divided by 9.
Then just recently I had to invest in some medium flat brushes and more acrylics. The supply of the primary colors was nearly gone So brushes and paint, $24. Again, not bad when divided by 9.
Of course every beautiful present deserves beautiful presentation, so that'd be another $6 for wrapping paper. I could donate that.
So I was up to $60 and figured that was okay to ask. for. Well, ask I did, and the answer was no. There was no money in the budget for it. I'm telling you, "tight" doesn't begin to describe the art department budget.
When I got upset about it, I told my husband. And for a change, he was not upset about spent money. It wasn't worth it to get upset, he said. Write it off. Live and learn. Be clear next time about who will pay for it. But sixty bucks is no big deal in the whole scheme of things. Wow, was my husband really saying those words?
But then, two days ago, he got some rattling news at work. News that rattled me, too. News that no wife wants to think about. News that makes you think "Sixty bucks when you have a good job is not a big deal. Sixty bucks when you don't is rice and beans and beans and rice."
So imagine my shock, my delight, my dancing feet (even the one that's possibly fractured), when...
in my mailbox,
an envelope marked
No note or anything
No identifiable handwriting.
Just sixty bucks.
Three crisp, twenty-dollar bills.
Who knew this is what I spent on Mother's Day gifts for the moms? Only three people: the secretary, the other art teacher, and the principal.
I asked the secretary
Don't know, she said.
I asked the other art teacher.
Nope, no idea, she said.
I asked the principal.
She had no clue what I was talking about.
"It must be from the Lord," was all she said.