One of my favorite bloggers, Ruth Ayres, is starting a new tradition. Celebrate This Week is an opportunity to savor and appreciate the week that has just been.
This school year has been hard- lots of emphasis on data and rigor and achievement and doing more and being more.
I'm trying to breathe and laugh and honor and celebrate and savor the privilege of working with teachers and kids.
Thought I would give Ruth's Saturday celebration a try…
Wednesday afternoon. The first day of after school activities. Today's offerings include two sections of Ballet Folklorico and Art Club.
As well as a group of fifteen boys (and yes, today it really is all boys), waiting to get on a bus to the Boys' and Girls' Club.
The activities begin in the school cafeteria, where students enjoy an after school snack, before being picked up by the club sponsors.
I am in charge. Soon students will be in a routine, and things will be calm, but today, well, let's just say it's a little crazy.
I explain routines. Pass out milk and snack bags. Try to explain, in my broken Spanish to a father who speaks very little English, the concept of a waiting list.
All this with a shy six-year-old, who loves to dance and really wants to be part of Ballet Folklorico, but is a little unsure about staying for an extra hour, attached to my hip.
Twelve-year-old B approaches from behind.
I have known B for a little over a year. In that year, I cannot ever, not once, remember him initiating a conversation with me. He is an independent kind of a guy, mature, capable and self-assured.
Today he wants to talk.
"Ms. Wilcox, my grandpa bought me a new accordion. Do you want to see?"
At this particular moment, overseeing 50 ballerinas, 20 artists, and 15 little guys who really need to get outside and run around, truthfully, the last thing I want to do is to see B's new accordion.
But I am trying to slow down. To not miss opportunities to connect. To be fully present on this holy ground.
And so I breathe deeply, then respond. "Sure, I'd love to see your new accordion, sweetie, can you wait about two minutes?"
B sits down on the cafeteria bench behind me.
Unsnaps the clasps of what looks like the brown, tortoiseshell suitcase my grandmother used to carry when she came to visit from Chicago.
Waits patiently until all of the ballerinas and artists have departed for their classes.
I turn to him. "Ok, show me your new accordion."
My frisky friends from the Boys and Girls Club gather round, as B opens the case to reveal a gleaming black and white instrument, resting on a bed of royal blue velvet. It really is beautiful.
B lifts the instrument from the case.
"Can you play it?" I ask.
"I have been taking lessons for two years," he says, and launches into a mini- concert. He plays two or three songs, then allows the little guys to touch the accordion. Little fingers stroke the gleaming black, touch the myriad of white buttons. They have lots of questions.
"Is it hard?"
"It looks heavy"
"What do these buttons do?"
B answers all of their questions, then puts his instrument away. The bus arrives and the kids are gone.
I am left, celebrating an afternoon accordion concert in the middle of the school cafeteria.