“Ms M! Ms M!” the little boy’s voice calls out. I turn and face a child standing at the end of the shop’s aisle, ball cap pulled down low to the brow, red tee and shorts, summer kissed skin.
“It’s me!” he says. His big eyes twinkle, his smile wide and gappy; little fists clench together.
“It’s you!” I gently reply.
He rushes forward, throws his arms around me, and looks up; sweet little rounded face.
It’s been three years since I taught him. I remember this child, a goer, always on the move. Some mornings he shook me awake! A thinker, a doer; building structures to navigate all across the carpet, surrounded by wooden blocks or hundreds of Lego bricks. Some days, castles stood lining the perimeter, other days building straws reached up, a tower to the sky. Lego ships and rockets peeked out, partially hidden behind a book or from beneath a table, safe, waiting for another opportunity to play. Each afternoon as our time together came to an end, he’d pause on the landing, throw his arms around me; a hug good-bye. Until the next day.
Some days, when it came time to work he would say, “I can’t,” or “I won’t.”
“Yes, you can and yes you will.” I’d reply, leading him to the table. Cross, the little head would lower, eyes narrow, as his small fist tightly gripped a crayon or pencil. Slowly, he realized, he would, he could.
“You did,” I’d say each time. Our eyes meet; we leave each other with a smile.
He wanted to read and his excitement was to the moon when we finally found a reading series he connected with, the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems.
Teaching was a passion; every day an opportunity to laugh, learn, and play; to create memories. Truly, the biggest pay off is hearing a little voice call out,
“Ms. M, Ms. M, it’s me!”
Along with a hug.
It’s you, thank goodness! You made my ordinary day so much better. Your heart remains open; your sweet child’s face filled with joy. Thank you for reminding me that it’s the positive connections we make with others that count most in life. Lucky me, your teacher.