The email arrives late Wednesday night.
"I wanted to let you know that our son has been throwing up since this evening. I am not sure what is going on but if he doesn't feel better tomorrow he will have to stay home. I know they have their big Play tomorrow. I am so sorry but I hope you understand. It is going to be a long night for us."
Poor guy. Bad enough to come down with a stomach bug, but even worse to have to miss our class play. Luckily, he doesn't have a singing part. I'm sure I can find a volunteer to read his lines for him.
Thursday morning's email brings more bad news. Another sick student. Then another. By 9:00 am I am starting to sweat and I'm pretty sure my deodorant has completely stopped working.
A violent stomach virus is sweeping through my classroom on the day of the play. We have 6 students absent.
Normally I greet my students at the door with a handshake and a smile. Thursday, I greet them with a tub of Clorox wipes. "Desks and chairs, desks and chairs," I repeat. "Wipe down everything--door handles, surfaces, pencils, keyboards..."
I explain the situation to the students. Hands shoot up around the room, "I could say the Naturalist's lines because I'm already on the stage."
My students amaze me. We've had very little time to practice due to all our snow days. We literally lost half our rehearsal time due to closures and delays. In two short weeks, they learned lines, cues, songs and instrument parts. Now, they are willing to do whatever it takes not to disappoint their waiting audience. All the volunteers refuse to go on stage with a script. They quickly memorize new material and head out for costume changes.
The lights go down. The play begins. And it is wonderful! If you were here, you never would know that there were six cast members absent. Congratulations to my amazing third grade class. You pulled together and said, "The show must go on." And so it did.