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Sudie Crouch: The lesson I learned at school during show and tell
Eliott Reyna, unsplash

One of my favorite things about school was show and tell. 

But, to be honest, the pressure as a kid to find something unique and fascinating to bring each week was anxiety-producing. 

There was the worry that it would seem pale in comparison to what the other kids had, or worse — they wouldn’t think whatever I shared was as special and cool as I did. 

Kindergarten was fine. First grade was when I ran into some trouble. 

For starters, the teacher hated me. Seriously — she hated me. She told me the first week of school she didn’t want me in her class. 

An awful thing to tell a child, especially a first grader. 

Hearing these words so callously thrown in my face stung. 

It’s not like there was any love lost though because I hadn’t wanted her to be my teacher either; it still hurt nonetheless.

So here I was in a class with a teacher who had professed her dislike of me and having show-and-tell anxiety about what to bring each week. 

The battle-ax even told me one time I didn’t have to bring something every week. 

If other kids were bringing stuff, I didn’t know why I couldn’t. 

Since I’ve always had that “I’ll show them” attitude, genetically passed down to all of the females in my family from the Redhead Prime herself, I was determined to find something really great and original to share. 

It couldn’t be another book or a stuffed toy like I usually brought. I was looking for something that would be truly unlike anything the other children would share. 

Then something scary happened.

One morning as Mama combed my hair, she noticed I had a small tumor on the top of my head. 

Being a bit of a worrywart, she immediately called the doctor’s office to make an appointment. 

I went in that morning and the doctor looked at it, then told her to bring me back that afternoon to have it removed. 

I was in a panic — show and tell was the next day. I couldn’t find something good if I had to have some kind of procedure. 

My biggest fear as a child was having a shot and usually, procedures involved some kind of needle, so I was really anxious about what the afternoon had in store for me.

Instead of a shot, the doctor used something to burn the tumor off. I don’t remember whether it hurt or not; more than likely, I was just so scared it distracted me from the pain. 

Mama, erring always on the side of caution, didn’t want me to do anything once I got home. I could lie on the couch and watch cartoons, and that was it. 

Of course, my evening was filled with grownups wanting to check on me and see if I was OK or not. 

“You think she’s going to make it?” I overheard my grandfather ask. 

“She’s fine, Bob,” Granny said. “It was just a small tumor. It wasn’t a cancer, just a growth of some kind.”

“But what kind of growth?” he wanted to know.

“I don’t know, Robert. And before you ask, I don’t know how it got there either, but it’s gone now.”

Personally, I like to think it was from Granny trying to reach my brain when she’d comb my hair. 

Mama was always gentle, and held my hair as she combed it to unfurl the knots. Granny acted like she’d be just as happy with yanking it clean off my head at the root. 

“How does it look?” I asked Uncle Bobby.

He looked at the top of my head. “It looks alright, it looks alright. But you gonna probably have a bald spot up there.” 

I screamed. And I do have a small bald spot as a matter of fact. 

The day had been a whirlwind of sorts. As I fell asleep, all I could think about was how I still didn’t have something for show and tell the next day.

Seeing I didn’t have anything on top of my desk, the teacher tried to skip over me but I held my hand up and said I did have something to tell. 

And you best believe, I got up there and told the whole class the ordeal I had been through the day before. For proof, I showed them the wound. 

The teacher was mortified; some of my classmates were too, but a few were fascinated by something gross, just as kids can be. 

That was the final straw for the teacher and I couldn’t share at show and tell any more. 

I learned an important lesson though. 

Sometimes, we need to share and tell what’s happened to us, even when someone doesn’t want us to, so we can not only get it off our chest, but we can let others know they’re not alone in case they’re dealing with something similar too. 

Even if it helps one person feel a little less scared or comforted, or even makes them laugh, it can be worth sharing something that may not be conventionally pretty. 

That’s how we heal. That’s how we grow. 

Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom. Her recently published book, ‘Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Deep-Fried Humor’ is available in paperback and Kindle download on Amazon.