Just Grace Gets Crafty

Just Grace Gets Crafty: Excerpt


Not everyone is excited about the same things.  People are excited about all kinds of different things, and sometimes you will be surprised at what they are excited about.
But the biggest surprise of all is when you surprise your very own self.  That’s what happened to me when Mom said, “Guess what?  There’s going to be a new crossing guard down on Blaine Avenue.”  “Is it for us?”   I asked.  Mom nodded, and then a second later I jumped up and high-fived the air.  Normally I wouldn’t be excited about a crossing guard, but this was a special crossing guard, a crossing guard that Mimi and I were going to use every single day—two times.  It was almost like a present.  The crossing guard meant we wouldn’t have to walk an extra two blocks to get to school.  To someone else that might not seem like a very big change, but to us it was huge! 
I couldn’t wait to tell Mimi the news. “Will the crossing guard be there tomorrow?” I asked.  Mom shook her head.  “But he’ll be here soon—the day after tomorrow, Wednesday.”  I wanted to run over to Mimi’s house right away to tell her, but Mom said it was dinnertime.  Once Mom says it’s time to eat, there’s no going anywhere.  You have to sit at the table, no exceptions—even for Dad.  He tried to get away once, and it didn’t work.
Mom is kind of bossy when it comes to meals.  The only family member who doesn’t have to sit at the table is Mr. Scruffers, my dog.  When we first got her, I had the idea to take a picture of her sitting at the table like she was eating with us.  I was lucky that I snapped the photo before Mom came into the room, because her feelings about my idea were not the same as mine.  She does not like dogs sitting at the table, especially if she sees them trying to lick the plates.  Mr. Scruffers is smart—as soon as Mom shouted out her name, she jumped off the chair and ran to hide in the living room. 
During dinner Mr. Scruffers usually sits under the table, by our feet, while we eat, but after Mom yelled at her, she stayed in the living room hiding for the whole meal.  I think Mom had guilty feelings about that, because she saved a little piece of her hamburger on her plate, and when we were all done eating, she gave it to Mr. Scruffers as a treat.  Normally Mr. Scruffers doesn’t get treats from the table—at least, treats Mom knows about.
I wasn’t hungry for dinner.   I was thinking too much about the crossing guard, and how surprised Mimi was going to be when she found out the news.  Sometimes when you are really excited about something, the excitement can fill your whole stomach up like a giant balloon and then there’s no room left over for food.  That’s what was happening to me.  I was not one bit hungry for dinner.  This was not good, because Mom is bossy about finishing your dinner too.  Right now I was wishing for one of two things, but the bad part was that they were both impossible.   Even though my brain knew that, I kept on wishing for them—a superpower or a magic wand.
I tried to make a plan in case my wish didn’t come true, but it’s not easy to make a plan when you have only a few minutes of thinking time before you have to use it. 
But suddenly my problem was solved, because right in front of me was Mom’s special chicken—the kind that is my favorite, with the homemade crispy coating.   Instantly the excitement bubble popped and now my stomach was hungry.   It was the second surprise of the night.   If I kept getting surprised by the things I was doing, pretty soon I’d be like a stranger in my own body.