Show and Tell…

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” – Brené Brown

Have you ever had that dream? The one where you are at school on the very first day and you are in your underwear? Well, let me tell you about my first day of kindergarten.

Like most kids who are going to school for the first time, I was apprehensive. Would I fit in with the other kids in my class? What would the other kids think about me? Would I make any friends? These were all questions that I had. However, my uneasiness was compounded by the fact that I was going to be showing up to my first day of kindergarten in a full body cast. For you see, I had undergone surgery on my hips shortly before starting school.

This meant that for the first several weeks of kindergarten, I would be confined to an itchy, sweaty, stinky, hunk of plaster. As you can imagine, being in a body cast limited my abilities in several ways. First, I was unable to move around the classroom like everyone else. Second, I was unable to sit down. Therefore, most days I was wedged between a table and a wall so that I would not tip over, as being in a full body cast makes ones body as rigid as a board. Other days I was placed on the floor on my stomach so that I could practice my ABC’s while laying down. I was rarely comfortable no matter what position I was placed in for the day.

Being in a body cast also limited my choice of clothing. Most days I wore a shirt with a towel pinned around my lower half. If only I would have had a kilt to wear! By this point you might be wondering what I did when it was time to use the restroom? Well, fortunately, the cast I was in had a section that had been cut out so that I was able to relieve myself when necessary. Little did I know that this would serve to be both a blessing and a curse on my very first day of kindergarten.

One saving grace throughout this whole ordeal was that my mother was my kindergarten teacher. Therefore, it was a little less embarrassing when it came time to use the the restroom, or when I needed to be moved around the classroom. However, it didn’t make it any easier when other kids would ask my mother questions such as, “why don’t you buy Ryan some decent clothes?” I guess my t-shirt and towel were not fashionable enough. Again, if only someone would have bought me a kilt! I could have possibly started a new trend among kindergarteners of the early 1980’s.

A kilt might also have spared me the embarrassment I experienced on that very first day of kindergarten. Remember that section that I mentioned earlier that had been cut out of the cast? The one that enabled me to relieve myself when necessary? Well, that section had a piece of padding that covered my private parts. This piece of padding was usually stuffed up inside the cast so that it would stay in place, especially once I had the towel wrapped around me. However, on this particular day everything came apart while I was leaning against a table. I also happened to be standing with my back to the rest of my classmates. Needless to say, I had a lot to offer for “show and tell” that very first day of kindergarten as I mooned my entire class.

Halloween of 1978. My brother Cory was a cowboy, while my brother Shannon went as Chewbacca. I think I was supposed to be a ghost, or I might have just been going as a body cast that year.
Is that a spacesuit or just another body cast?
Me just standing around eating while in yet another body cast. If only I could have been as enthused as my brother Cory was here. By the looks of it I think I might have been able to fit that whole chair in my mouth!
I don’t know what is uglier in this picture, the body cast or that couch that I am leaning against.

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