She was running late as it was, so there was no way that Jordan was going to be able to do her hair the way she had planned. As it was, there was barely enough time for her to throw her outfit in the dryer to try and get the wrinkles out. Why did Picture Day have to be today?
Quickly, she pulled her hair up in a bun with the first hair tie she could find. It wasn’t the look she had planned on. But at this point, with ten minutes left before she had to be at the bus stop. It would be good enough.
When she got to school it was obvious that most of the girls in her class has spent the entire morning getting ready for their pictures. Jordan wondered if staying up an hour past her bedtime was really worth it. Her mother had made her flash cards to help her study for the math test. But going through them had taken longer than she had thought. At least she would be ready for the test.
She couldn’t believe it! When she stepped into the classroom she noticed that each one of them had an Ipad on their desk. They would be taking the test on the computer today. She could see the excitement on her classmates’ faces. They each had one at home. She didn’t. Maybe this was why they didn’t seem worried about the test.
Jordan’s teacher told them that this was how they would be taking all of their tests from now on. That they had to get ready for the new state assessment. And that they would know their score immediately after they finished. She wasn’t quite sure how she felt about that.
The test wasn’t as bad as she had thought it would be. In fact, she felt pretty good about her score of 81. Especially since it was the first time she had ever taken a test using an Ipad. Her excitement was short-lived though. Once everyone began sharing their results, she realized that almost all of her friends had gotten A’s.
And they had enough time to prepare for Picture Day! Oh well. She wasn’t going to let it bother her. Much. Her mother told her that as long as she did her best, that that was good enough. And an 81 wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t an A.
After she got her picture taken she went to lunch. This was usually her favorite time of the day. A chance to get to just hang out with her friends and relax. But for once, she just wished that she could pack her lunch. That she could sit down first. That she wouldn’t have to wait in line with the boys. Who got on her nerves.
Finally, after what seemed like a half an hour, she joined her friends. They had finished their lunches and had already begun eating their “always-homemade” dessert. Her lunch came with a fruit cup and a cookie. The kind you see bundled in packs of a hundred. They weren’t so bad really. In fact, she kinda liked the cookie. It wasn’t homemade, but it was good enough.
When they went outside for recess she decided not to join her friends. They were playing lacrosse with the sticks they had brought from home. She had held a stick one time before. But she couldn’t keep the ball from falling out. She immediately decided that lacrosse wasn’t for her.
No one was on the swings and she could use some time to herself. So she went and sat down. Were they empty for a reason? She wasn’t sure. Then she noticed her friends pointing at her and giggling. She had no idea why. It wasn’t until later that she found out why they had been giggling.
They told her that Jonathan, the boy in their class that was a little bit different, had had an accident on one of the swings last year. And from that day on nobody sat on them. Except for Jonathan. How had she not heard about this before?
As the day began to wind down everyone was talking about their plans for the weekend. Some of her friends were going to the movies with their parents. Some of her friends were going out to eat at a restaurant called Olive Garden. She had never heard of it, but it sounded pretty good to her. And one of her friends was actually going to Disney World for a whole week.
Jordan for once, was excited about her weekend. Her mom had finally gotten a Saturday night off and she was going to bring home a pizza. Something she hadn’t done since she had begun working her second job. Pizza, whatever movie was on tv and leftover Halloween candy. It may not have been as exciting as what her friends were doing. But it was good enough.
As she was walking towards her bus, Jordan couldn’t help but notice that Jonathan was lying on the ground. He looked scared and he was all by himself. Usually there was a woman that walked him to the bus. But she wasn’t in class with him today. Maybe she was sick.
She noticed that everyone just walked right past him. As if he wasn’t even there. Maybe they were too busy thinking about their weekends. Maybe they were worried that the rumor about the swings was true. Maybe…
It didn’t matter at this point. If he didn’t get up soon he was going to miss his bus. She walked over to him. Knelt down beside him and told him to get up. He said he couldn’t. That since the operation he needed someone to walk him to the bus. He told her that was why he had fallen.
At that moment Jordan made a decision. She grabbed Jonathan’s hand. Pulled him up. And walked him to his bus. He yelled THANK YOU. Loud enough for everyone to hear. Loud enough for all of her friends to hear.
She didn’t care. As the bus pulled away he waved. And with a warm smile, she waved back.
It was at that moment
that she knew
she would no longer think of herself
or her life
or her accomplishments
as good enough.
From that day forward,
she would hold her head higher,
she would smile longer,
and she would love herself for all that she was,
and all that she knew could become.
Because she knew that she was good.
Not good enough.