22 October 2004

My fairy child~laughter, love, and leaving

As our schoolyear drew to a close, I found myself worrying which 3rd grade teacher would get my fairy child. Would she understand him, love him, and accept the ways that set him apart from other children? Would he be allowed to ask the jillion questions he was capable of wondering? Would she guide him gently into the world of responsiblility and maturity? Would she take the time to laugh and enjoy life with him?
But who was I really worried about? Was it Evan? Or was it me?
Who would understand me? Love and accept my ways with unconditional love? Who would take the time to laugh and enjoy life with me? With Evan gone, who would I have within this classroom I call home for 185 days a year 9 hours a day?
"Mrs. Hood?"
"Yes, Evan?"
"Next year I won't be in your room, will I?"
"No, sweetheart, you won't."
"Will you go to third grade and be my teacher?"
"I can't do that, Evan. I have to stay here."

"Well, you know what?"
"What, my Evan?"
"Every morning I'm going to sneak down here before school and give you a hug. Will that be okay?"

"I'd like that a lot, Evan."
"You know what, Mrs. Hood? I'm never going to forget you. Not even when you're old and wrinkled, and I'm big and have a job."
And then I know it'll be okay. Because no matter where I go or what I do or what tomorrow may bring, for this particular moment in time I have the love of this small child. And I will always have the memories he created for me. For us.
Thank you, my fairy child. Thank you for touching my life in your very special way. I will never forget you. I will always love you. And you will forever have a part of my heart.

Come back in awhile~a few days perhaps, and I'll update you on Evan, my forever fairy child~but until then, may the sun shine warmly upon your face and the rain softly upon your soul~

19 October 2004

My fairy child~pizza and laughter

I had to carefully screen what Evan said, during any time together. One morning, during a Reading lesson, I tried to prevent him from telling us how pizza affected his mother's intestines.
"Mrs. Hood, do you like pizza?"
"I do, but sometimes it makes me burp."
"Me, too! But you know what it does to my mom?"
"Does it make her burp, too?"
"No, ma'am. It makes her po-" as I slap my hand over his mouth. Too late. Someone has already figured it out and now I have 21 little people rolling on the floor around my chair. Evan's wide eyes are looking at me over my hand, which is pressed tightly below his nose!
"Evan Pickler, I am going to remove my hand and you are NOT to repeat that word. Do you understand?"
"Yishmi'im," he garbled out beneath my fingers.
"I'm serious, Evan. Don't say it."
Removing my hand, I looked at him and cautioned him with my eyes.
With all the seriousness of a politician, he said, "I promise, Mrs. Hood, I won't say poot anymore."
Closing my eyes, I listen as my classroom erupts once more in giggles and laughter.
And Evan just sits there quietly at my knees, with dancing eyes - knowing exactly what he's done. And I wonder, once more, what it's like to live with him 24 hours a day.

15 October 2004

My fairy child~his classroom angels

It can make one sad for our children that they have to grow up to be adults, because with that stage comes fear and doubt and hurt. We lose that innocence and trust, the idea that others will help us because we would have helped them. To love without being loved is something certainly common to a child and very rare with us older beings.
I was always reminded that I was one of those 'older' ones when I got on my knees at the end of each classday to clean up Evan's desk area. It never ceased to amaze me how much paper, color crayons, broken pencils, and just 'stuff!' he could accumulate in a days time. And it only took part of the next morning for it to get right back to where it had been the previous day!
I fussed, threatened, bribed - most anything - to try and have him keep some semblance of order. Then I began to notice he was sitting in a state of organization - and this began to happen on a regular basis. I didn't think I had succeeded in my pleadings, but neither did Evan seem to be putting forth any extra effort.
I did notice, however, that he seemed to have more company around his floor area. It was quiet, and there would be no playing, but someone was always there - on the floor. And on their knees. Scurrying around like squirrels, picking up things and crawling to our trashcan.
So now Evan had help. Upon questioning one of the helpers, I found that they didn't want me fussing at him, so they had individually decided to help. Each one pitching in to aid a friend. What wonderful little people we have. What loving angels in small bodies~
And until another time, may you find time to look for the angels in your life. Here's wishing you many moments of love and laughter~

07 October 2004

My fairy child~his rock of gold, his heart of gold

I watch him as he works at his desk during our center time. He becomes so engrossed in whatever has captured his attention that time seems to fade and he leaves us for a little while. It may be a picture book or an encyclopedia filled with wonderous photographs or his library book, but it is a flight into another realm of his world. He sits quietly without speaking and hunches close to the book. I study him at times. This little elfin figure that has filled my working days with wonder. So serious. So small.
What is it about him that captures my attention, that makes me seek him out many times during our day together? Is it to see what comical mischief he's into, or to check and make sure he's as happy as we are when we're around him? Is it a more selfish motive? To be noticed by Evan is to be reassured that you matter, that you are special. Whatever the reason, I find myself glancing his way often, looking for him in the room, even looking to see where he's positioned himself at our lunch table.
The lunch room. Another place to yet watch him at work.
Our school hires part-time workers to work certain areas of our campus. One such place is the lunchroom. One day there was a gentleman working the area where plates are emptied. It was the same day Evan slipped his 'gold' rock into his pocket-for safety reasons he told me later.
Unknownst to me, another student had playfully hidden this 'treasure' that Evan had set on his lunch plate. So naturally, when we line up he realizes he must have thrown his rock in the trash along with his food. Knowing he wasn't supposed to have it in the lunchroom in the first place, he decided to handle it on his own.
We're busy working on a math lesson when this gentleman comes to my door.
"Mrs. Hood? Would you tell Evan Pickler that I couldn't find his valuable stone. Ma'am, I looked real good."
"I'm sorry," I replied with what I'm sure is a confused look. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Well, he came up and told me he'd dropped a gold nugget into the trashcan and asked me to find it and return it to him. Said he'd be in your room."
Apparently, this man had donned gloves and gone through a fifty-five gallon trashbin of food scraps looking for a rock that was at the moment sitting on Evan's desk, having been returned during our walk back across campus.
"Evan Mark Pickler, Junior come here now."
With a look of 'Oh no, think quick!' he managed to say, "Mrs. Hood, wasn't he nice to look for my gold rock for me?"
"Evan, whatever possessed you to ask this man to do that?"
With a serious, and surprised, expression on his face, Evan answered, "Well ... I needed help and I would've helped him."
And Evan would have. Without any hesitation. Or permission!
~until another day and another time may your days be filled with wonderous moments~

03 October 2004

A week of rest?

Our county is out of school this week for Fall Break. It is suuuuuch a nice feeling to know that this week I can have my coffee and read the Advertiser at my leisure. I do hope my students enjoy their time away as much as I intend to. The weather is gorgeous, although not as cold as I'd like, and the colors of fall are everywhere. John and I are definitely cold weather people. I lived in Aurora, Colorado once and have wished many times that I could have stayed there. The scenery, the climate, the snow! Maybe one day the mountains will once again be within the view of my kitchen sink, or back porch~Until another time, look for the love and laughter in your life.

01 October 2004

My fairy child~I love you, Frankie

Evan loved life, and he loved us. He took special interest in everything. He made no enemies, because he could always find something nice to say about all of us. There were times when he would hunger for someone to say something nice about him, and it was at those times that I found it hard to separate him from my leg.
Evan not only needed to love, but he needed to be loved. Above all, to know that he was loved. It did not, however, dim his enthusiasm for someone to brush him off. If anything, it served only to make him try harder to love that person.
As free and open as he was with his love, and belongings, no one in our class ever (to my knowledge) took advantage of him. It was as if they recognized his innocence and wanted to protect it.
"Hey, Frankie. You know what?"
"What, Evan? Why do you always say 'You know what'?"
"Because I'm asking you something. People say that when they ask a question. Don't they say that, Frankie?"
"I guess so, Evan. What'd you want?"
"I love you, Frankie."
"I love you too, Evan, but you didn't ask me anything."
"Well, that's okay, isn't it?"
As Frankie stands there looking totally confused, Evan Mark Pickler Jr. grins as he hugs Friankie tight, turns and skips off. Our Evan.