Saturday, October 12, 2013


Discover. Play. Build.

 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.

Holy ground.


Terje said...

Wow. These kind of unexpected musical moments just take you off from reality.

Leigh Anne Eck said...

What an AWESOME talent! What a reason to celebrate.

Linda B said...

How great is that-& a very special connection made, too!

Jennifer Laffin said...

A definite celebration!!

Becky Shillington said...

Carol, you make me miss teaching so much! What a wonderful way to celebrate all the things that make life so special! = )

Ruth Ayres said...

Holy ground, indeed. I love the way you crafted this story, Carol. I think this is a gem: "frisky friends." I hope you save it and tuck it into a fiction story one day. (I'm not sure if you have thought about writing a fiction picture book, but I think you SHOULD.) Thanks for joining the celebration today.

Katherine Sokolowski said...

What a wonderful moment! Thanks for sharing.

Ramona said...

Carol, the chance to connect often comes at the most inopportune times. I love these words, "But I am trying to slow down. To not miss opportunities to connect. To be fully present on this holy ground." I think I need to put this in my writer's notebook. Thanks for sharing this celebration with us.

Dana Murphy said...

This was just beautiful! I love your reference to the Holy Ground. I'm putting that in my Writer's Notebook for sure!

It touches me that you find reason to celebrate in this seemingly small moment (that I don't really think was small at all.)

Mary Lee said...

Thanks for helping me to remember to slow down and be in the moment, so I don't accidentally miss a concert!

Holly Mueller said...

That's wonderful! I love Mary Lee's comment - it sounds poetic! :-)

Karen said...

How easy is it to be caught up in our "have tos" and then miss the beauty of a moment like this. I'm so glad you experienced this beauty.