Good Morning, Children

Mrs. Jones drew the children into a circle around her. They sat on the rug in the middle of the playroom.

“Good morning, children,” Mrs. Jones said. “Today is the first day of school. My, you are all so grown up now. Did you all find your cubby and put your lunch in it?”

“Yes, Mrs. Jones,” the children said.

“Good. Let’s get to know each other! Mary, where do you and your mommy and daddy live?”

“I don’t have a daddy.”

“I’m sorry, Mary. Where do you and your mommy live?”

“I have two mommies.”

“Aha.”

“Why does she have two mommies and no daddy?” Johnny said.

“Well, because some…”

“I have two daddies and no mommy,” Marcus said. “My daddies say that mommies and daddies are ‘parents’ and you need two but they can be mommies or daddies.”

“I only have one mommy and no daddy,” said Clarice. “My daddy is dead. We go to the cemetery to visit him.”

“Children, children,” Mrs. Jones said, “I think we can see that…”

“My mommy says that my daddy’s dead to us,” Freddy said, “but he still comes to visit weekends. We go to the zoo.”

“My mommy and daddy are both dead,” said Meagan. “They were drunk and drove into a pole. I’m an orphan. I live with my grandmother.”

“Oh my, oh my,” said Mrs. Jones. “Children, please…”

“My mommy’s sister wives say they’re my mommies too,” said Joseph. “They tell me what to do but then my real mommy gets mad. My daddy says he is the patriarch and everybody must do what he says.”

“My daddy also says he must be obeyed,” said Abbas.

“Our big house has lots of mommies and daddies,” said Starshine. “They are all my mommies and daddies, but I came out of the tummy of the mommy named FlowerDew. We don’t know who put me in FlowerDew’s tummy, so all my daddies are my daddies. But only my daddy SpiritLover has red hair like me.”

“I was born way back in the woods in the Ozarks,” said Rufus. “I…”

Mrs. Jones shushed little Rufus and the others.

“We need to stop now and have singing time,” she said. “Thank you, Mary and Johnny and Marcus and Clarice and Freddy and Meagan and Joseph and Abbas and Starshine and Rufus. Now…”

“We go visit my daddy,” said Mike, “up at the ‘Big House.’ My mommy works on the street at night, so…”

“My mommy,” said Sally, “gets me on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. My daddy gets me on Wednesday and Thursday. My grandma and grandpa get me on Friday and Saturday. My step-mommy and my step-daddy and my step-brothers and step-sisters all hate me…”

“Good Lord,” Mrs. Jones said.

“I don’t have lunch to put in my cubby,” said Morris. “My baby sitter this morning told me to steal somebody else’s lunch.”

“Mrs. Rudden,” Mrs. Jones said, “please come help me here. This is my first day of school.”