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Monday, September 15, 2014

When sad things happen to sad people

As I so often do, I started telling a story; one that spans over a great deal of time and contains several smaller stories. These long-winded tales are too long for blog posts. Where I left off in my last entry, I was going through the biggest crisis I had yet to encounter, when a simple moment brought meaning to my life and gave me a reason to go on.
 Vintage '80s novelty print dress in 40s style (unrelated to topic)
So, it was spring in 2013 and the school year was coming to an end. The school year had been a tumultuous one; not just for me, but inside the class, as well. The class teacher, Jamie, gave her notice that she would not be back the next year. It had not been a positive experience for her. One June day, B and I were taking our afternoon walk around the school building (to give him a little break) and we walked near the 1st grade classrooms.
"Maybe this will be your class," I said pointing one of my fave teacher's rooms. (It was. I knew whose class he would be in, but didn't want to give it away.) "Mrs. W will take good care of you."
He looked calm and confident, like a boy ready for his next challenge. He would need to be ready--I would not be working at his side in 1st grade. We all agreed he no no longer needed someone available to help him all day. He would have small group sessions with the special needs teacher, and a paraprofessional (if not me, someone else) would come to his class to help him with his work for a small part of the day.
"Will you be there?" he asked, wondering I went with him, or stayed in kindergarten. Had this been a TV show, the scene would have cut away to a flashback sequence... to when I'd get up to go to the bathroom and he would ask to come with me...when someone donned our school's mascot panther costume at an assembly and B screamed in fear, jumping into my arms, crying and clinging to me for safety...
Then, I looked at the boy beside me. "Nesx year, you'll be so big...you won't even need me," I said. "But as long as you and I are both here at this school, you can always find me. I'll always be there for you."
He did one of those "thinking about it" looks. Then a little smile and affirmative nod. "Ok," he replied, a prideful tone his voice.
My little birds were ready to leave the nest; both M and B. I recall our little "graduation" ceremony in the school gym/auditorium. I would miss my boys, so much. After everyone received their "diplomas," the commencement ended with the sounds of a cheesy Rod Stewart song.

There's the song with lyrics in what look like Comic Sans! Sorry!
When I heard those opening chords...a tear fell from my eyes. The parents must have thought I was nuts. B's grandparents were so proud. My principal said it would be ok if I told the family that they could call if they needed anything. I gave Meme my number and told her that they could call me anytime they needed help, or if they just needed a break.
I didn't hear from them that summer, which I hoped meant that B was doing well. In the week before school year 2013's start, I hit another new low. I was unceremoniously kicked to the curb by the man who had been there for me, and when I called my mom crying she told me that my dad would be having some heart valves replaced. So, that year started pretty shitty.
I was working with a new kindergarten class, and a very difficult case in a boy I call Z. He's a whole other story. (I'd love to talk about Z some time.) I would see B in the hallways, looking like a big boy with his first grade class. I remember calling out, "hey, B!" and blowing a kiss. He flashed a big, happy grin and blew a kiss back, staying in his line with his class. My babe was on his own and my heart was filled with pride. What a great success!
LOL just kidding.
While the beginning of the year went well for B, it didn't last. I chatted with Mary, or "Mrs. C" the para who worked with first graders about his particular quirks. She mentioned that for the first month he was grouchy with her, saying he didn't want her, he wanted "his other Ms. C." (Yes, I almost died of flattery) I gave her my best tip, which was to remind him that if he got into trouble, his grandparents would be disappointed. I hated to think of him getting himself into trouble because he didn't have me to guide him any more.
 vintage 80s does 40s dress-before I make it smaller (no time)
One day, Z was giving me some static on our way back from the nurse's office. For some reason, (just to be a pill, I guess) he burst open the door that leads to the office area. Behind this door is a desk right next to the asst. principal's office, where children are often seated for time outs. They're given classwork to complete.
The door swung open and there sat B at the "naughty" desk (we don't actually call it that). I looked at him and my heart sank, a sad frown taking over my face. He looked right back at me, then dropped his eyes down, ashamed to have made me sad. Z looked at both of us, before charging right into the asst. principal's open office (which was empty, as Mr. H  had stepped out). Z stopped and looked at me, saying "Oh no. I think your little boy is in trouble." If you knew Z, it was interesting how he read the situation and could tell that I was upset. He may have had a hard time writing his own name, but he was getting pretty good at that empathy thing.
"Yeah, it looks like he is," I answered. "I'm just glad that you're not in trouble." 
As if realizing that he didn't want to make me sad, like the other kid did, Z just turned himself around and walked quietly out of the office. As we walked by, B held up a book and began reading aloud as if to look like he was really on his best behavior. I was glad that he was embarrassed by being caught in the office. Maybe he would remember that, next time he wanted to misbehave.
To be continued! Sorry!


  1. You are amazing. Those kids are so lucky to have you. I know another little boy (we'll call him J) who also adores you. :)

  2. Why thank you! I'm not so great, I just don't have my own kids to love. So I have to love other peoples' children like that sweetheart, J!

  3. You should give yourself more credit. Look at all of your creations to. I have to say that I am a little envious. I love reading your stories my dear. Keep being Awesome!