Well, someone did cry because it is Christmas. It was a student. Actually, it was many students. This week I've had probably about ten kids crying their little eyes out. There is so much pressure in the lead up to Christmas with report cards, Santa, Demerits, last minute school work, and other goofy antics that cause them to get into trouble and hurt themselves. Basically, I've been a damage controller all day. It is exhausting!
Last night the eighth grade girls came over to decorate the convent for Christmas. It was a lovely night. It is so nice for me to be able to chat with them outside of school. They gave me the dirt on all the love connections and asked me for all the "convent dirt." "Do you always get along with the other sisters?" "Do sisters ever say bad words?" "Do you ever wish you had a husband?" "Do you ever wish you had kids?" "What if you don't like what's for dinner?" "Who does the food shopping?" It made it well worth it to endure the tears and chaos in school these days to spend time with the girls as we trimmed the tree and goofed around.
Today it snowed! The kids are aware that I love the snow and immediately turn into a child when I see it. They were a big bundle of giggles as the snow fell and we didn't get a whole lot of schoolwork done. However, after all the tears, they did need a little bit of a break. At dismissal time one of the buses didn't show up and so I had a bunch of kids in my classroom while we waited for the bus to be sorted out. One by one they left was parents and friends came to pick them up until I was left with a little first grade girl, Mary, and a seventh grade boy, Justin. I never met the little girl before but my seventh grade friend is quite a character. He is always in trouble and always doing something fresh. For some reason I love the fresh boys so we usually get along but I always worry about him. He is always being written up and staying for detention.
Mary started making me play silly games and Justin looked a little disgusted with how goofy I was being with her. Eventually though he started to warm up and was laughing and being a fool right along with us. After about an hour of waiting I picked up a styrofoam ball that was going to be used for a science project later and I just yelled, "snow ball fight" and I threw one at Justin and one at Mary. I thought Justin would be too cool for my game but he started throwing it back and I saw something in him I never saw before. He was enjoying himself like a kid, with no concern about whether he was keeping up his appearance of not caring, and without trying to prove himself. It was beautiful. The sad part was that his facial expression told me that he couldn't believe that he was being allowed to just be a kid and be loved and enjoyed. I wonder if he has never experienced that before. I also saw that he was shocked that he was being allowed to be a goof with me, and that I actually was enjoying him as a goof.
It made me realize that the late nights, the painful feet, the papers, grades, and parents are all worth it for moments when a child realizes that he is loved and respected no matter what. I hope he remembers it. I hope he knows that he really is loved and liked at the same time. I hope he knows he can count on me.