Friday, December 18, 2009

The Principal's Wife

It's an interesting life
as the principal's wife.

I'm on this train of thought this morning because the Christmas program was last night. As the principal's wife I was in charge of the food afterwards, so I cooked up four crock pots of dip (two bean, two cheese) and bought lots of tortilla chips and told the moms to bring either cookies or fruit/veggie trays, and rather belatedly I put on the church hotline that anyone else that comes and is able can bring finger foods as well.

Some years the sanctuary hasn't even been filled for the program so I calculated for around 125 people, 150 at most. Paul picked up paper plates and cups in town for me. And when he hauled the huge box of chip bags to church he thought to himself, he told me later, "Oh my dear wife, we're going to be eating chips and dip for weeks."

Well, it was all good because I forgot that a lot of the little kids have grandparents and aunts and uncles from neighboring churches. Last night the sanctuary filled up, then the balcony, and some people were standing, which is wonderful, but what if I ran out of food?

I prayed that God would do a loaves and fishes on what we had, and he did, because it didn't look like we had that much, but it stretched and stretched and we had plenty.

Next year I'll calculate for 200.

(The program was wonderful, from the little kids' songs to the Other Wiseman play and everything in between. With two of my kids singing solos in We Three Kings and two in the play [Ben in the main role] and one in charge of it all and Paul in the back doing lights, my stomach was tied in knots. But everyone {not just mine!} did wonderfully well and the program was amazing.)

Being the principal's wife and the high school teacher's mom also meant that I spent a bunch of time sewing Roman soldier costumes and trying to make the front of the capes look like soldier capes and not Boy Scout scarves. My end table and a few other household items disappeared and eventually showed up onstage.

And I was in charge of cleanup afterwards but a lot of people helped out so it wasn't hard.

* * *
Normally, I am the last to know things--who is dating, bankrupt, breaking up, moving, and so on. There's also a lot that happens at school that we don't find out about but everyone else knows, because that is just the nature of things.

However, there is plenty that I know, being the principal's wife, cheerful information like which kids have issues with cheating/mis-scoring, which parents haven't paid their PACE fees, which teachers are frustrated with which kids and why, which parents think which teachers are incompetent or unfair and why, who has been squirting water at whom in the classroom, and so on.

However, and this compensates for a lot, I also get to read the occasional intercepted note, such as--

Quotes of the Day:
"I'm sorry I pushed you but you were being a pain in the butt."
"Miss Amy, I want to inform you that people have been squirting each other with hand sanitizer. P.S. Don't tell I told!!"

And we add one more quote, hollered by calm, unflappable Miss Amy as she marched through the house an hour and a half before the program, with a gold costume draped over her arm:
"I'm so TIRED of costumes!
I'm so TIRED of play stuff!
I'm so TIRED of school stress!


  1. Wow. That has hot to be annoying to have all this placed on you because you are the principal's wife. It's like those other annoying stereotypical things we assume. We assume a preacher's son is a natural preacher. We assume a teacher,s daughter should be quick and smart. We assume the son to be like the father, and the daughter like the mother. We expect our sons to take over the family business, create there own, or work for another Mennonite. And I guess we also assume that the principal's wife should be able to prepare a lot of food.

  2. Oh, I agree with Miss Amy! How well I remember those stressful weeks and days before the Christmas program... I'm thinking though, that she had to have been able to handle those last hours better after letting out those feelings!!!

  3. Here's a caterer's secret to tuck in your apron pocket: The more people there are at an event the less they eat (per person)--so what works for 125/150 can work for 200.

    There are more people to talk to and less time to eat, and if the room is full it's much harder to get back for seconds.

    But it can still be nerve wracking, and there are still times when it seems that the Lord does multiply the food as He did the loaves and fishes.

  4. Wow, that's a lot for a principal's wife, I think. At all the schools I've been involded in, the school board memebers' wives take care of the food stuff. We have enough other stress I think.

    So related to the paragraph about the stuff you know. :)

  5. When Dave was principal years ago, I was so scared that I would be expected to host all these banquets at Christmas, End of School, etc. Like the former principal's wife did. But God was merciful...No one asked me to do it and didn't seem surprised or disgusted that I couldn't or didn't. So that is a wonderful memory I have of being Principal's Wife. ~I