Gretchen is busy with many things…drawing-volleyball-readying-chasing brooks-lots of different things. But I think that the thing she loves the most is being on Safety Patrol at her school.

Last year, she decided she wanted to apply for the sacred position of Safety Patrol. Don’t laugh-there really is an application process. She had to get recommendations and interview. It was a big deal in our house. Many fourth graders applied and almost as many made the cut-but if you ask Gretchen-it is an elite group of highly trained, highly skilled door openers and greeters. That is what they do-open your car door for your kid to get out…AND they encourage you to have a nice day by looking you square in the eye—it is intentional and deliberate-and it takes a bit of time. So you sometimes get honked at by the running late mom behind you. But-it is all worth it because Gretchen loves it!

She had a Safety Patrol lunch yesterday and I heard every detail of it last night. As she sat and told us the agenda and outcome of the ENTIRE hour, Jeff and I sat charmed and hanging on every word. We could have talked about so many other “more important” things-our jobs, the economy, the presidential election-but not us-we were deep into Safety Patrol concerns. She is proud of her new vest and the colored hangers that they may get to help identify the sizes more easily. She told us about the Christmas party that Mr. Ball, the sponsor, is planning and on and on and on……Safety Patrol is a BIG DEAL in our house-and she is so proud to be a part.

We didn’t have a night of slamming doors and back talking. We didn’t have a night of the silent treatment because we didn’t take her to the high school football game. We didn’t have a night of pouting because she didn’t have a friend over to spend the night. We had a night of our daughter sharing with us a very Big Deal in her life. I wonder if this will translate. Will she share her first crush with us? Will she tell us when her heart breaks for the first time? Will she let us know when the pressures of being a girl get to be too much? Did she learn that whatever is a big deal to her is a big deal to Jeff and to me?

Safety Patrol is a big deal. She is learning to serve others. She is an active participant in something she cares about. She knows what it means to be responsible. She is learning to be gracious and kind, considerate and well mannered.

Safety Patrol, really-is it a big deal? Maybe not to you-but to us, it is a very big deal.

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