This past Friday night, a group of mostly middle-aged women gathered to play poker.
For most of us, it was the first time.
So what do mostly middle-aged women talk about over poker chips, cream puffs and blood orange martinis? From what I recall, facial hair. Other things, too, I’m sure, but the two champagne margaritas (can you believe there’s such a thing? I’m in awe and headed back to that wine bar as soon as possible — Amano, 16th Street and Baseline) wiped it out.
I do recall looking around the table and having a deja vu moment, then realizing that these women — their humor, their friendship, their bawdiness — remind me of my closest college girlfriends.
The highest compliment I can bestow.
The funniest moment (again, that I can remember) was toward the end of the evening, when half of us had run out of chips. We weren’t playing for money, but some of us were taking the game seriously — which I didn’t realize til we noticed that one player wasn’t sharing her chips with the losers.
“Hey, kindergarten teachers don’t share!” Ms. X blurted out between giggles.
Don’t hate me because I play poker with my kid’s kindergarten teacher. (I’m sure you will — I got jealous protests after announcing we’d been out for coffee. I don’t blame you; I’d hate me, too.)
Instead, hate me because I had coffee for two hours Sunday morning with Ms. Y, the woman I desperately hope will be Sophie’s first grade teacher.
Ms. Y rocks. I knew that before she offered to crawl out of bed early on the teacher’s most sacred of days, a Sunday, but I know it even more after chatting over non-fat lattes. She’s smart and cool and even knows the book “Little Pea”. She says “oy”. She once rearranged her students so they were sitting in compatible spots according to their Zodiac signs.
And she “gets” Sophie. Most recently, she’s been teaching special ed, so she’s gotten to know Sophie a bit (even though Sophie hasn’t officially been allowed special ed services because she “doesn’t qualify”. Ms. Y agrees that’s bunk).
Ms. Y, like Ms. X and Annabelle’s Mrs. Z, is a reminder that it’s really all about the teacher.
Today we turn in the teacher request forms for next year, so I’ll cross every digit and try to smile at the principal as much as possible, even at Sophie’s IEP, which is, gulp, tomorrow.
It will be stressful (though I don’t expect to get much — I’m going to make some demands related to safety at the new school they’re building next to our current school, that’s about it) but I know how I’ll calm myself down.
I’ll just picture everyone around the table with a big pile of chips and a hand of cards, old school 70s music blaring in the background. At least Ms. X will be there, for security blanket purposes if nothing else. Ms. Y will be there, too.
I didn’t do so badly in Friday night’s game. Maybe it’s because I have more experience than I thought. As I write this, I realize that I’ve already been playing poker for quite a while — 6 years on May 21, to be exact.
At the moment, I”ve got quite a pile of chips. But I know the stakes will only get higher as Sophie gets older. Maybe I need a weekend in Vegas with the girls to sharpen my skills….