Kiddo#2 hears everything. She told me with interest that the teachers had been talking about someone who had recently died or recently retired — I couldn’t tell which. The person had worked as a crossing guard at the school for an unbelievably long time, maybe twenty years?
Bear in mind that I got all this information secondhand through Kiddo#2, who in addition to hearing everything sometimes forgets it all too, but she was very impressed by this. She told me how this woman had dedicated her life to making sure kids were safe crossing the street on the way to school!
Now from an adult’s perspective, it’s a job. I can’t put it into print, but her voice became more urgent as she explained this to me, how this woman had stood in the street in order to direct traffic so children would be safe, and how she’d done it for so many years.
And I can, sadly, imagine that this woman who stood out in the rain and the snow for hours every day was not, in fact, paid very well by the Angelborough Public School System. She probably got honked at by frustrated drivers, treated rudely by students, and rendered invisible whenever the school staff got together. Not really working inside the school, but still an employee. Not a parent, but in charge of children. No authority to ticket a driver but the responsibility to get the drivers to stop.
Do you ever think of a crossing guard as a hero?
But Kiddo#2 said to me, urgently, “And Mom, when she left, do you know what they did? They named a street after her! And Mom — I saw it!”
I’ve seen it too, now. It’s the road leading from the school parking lot out onto the main road, and it’s not even on Google Maps. But to my daughter, wrapped in admiration, she’d stood in the shadow of heroism.