Thursday, March 23, 2017

SLICE #23- Sometimes the stories are so hard.

Sometimes I think I cannot stand one more day.

The stories are so hard.

Today was one of those days.

I spot her first thing this morning.

Sixth grade girl.
Beyond quiet.
Oldest of three.
Gentle spirit.
Tangled reader.
Incredibly talented artist.
Hard, hard home life.

Today her head is on her desk.
Face buried in her arms.
Clearly upset.
I move toward her.
Touch her gently.
"You ok?"
Stupid question.
She is clearly not.
She does not lift her head.

Her teacher tells me
she is upset about her birthday.
It is during spring break.
She thinks no one will celebrate.
No one will acknowledge her special day.
My heart breaks.
Everyone should have a birthday.

Teachers. Administrators. Office staff scramble.
A quick run to the grocery store.
Sugar cookies.
The yummy kind
with thick yellow frosting.
A coloring book.
Sketch pad.
A huge variety pack
of colored pencils.
Birthday cards.
A two-class party.
Percy Jackson movie.
The birthday song.
Happy birthday to you, 
dear S.
Happy birthday to you. 

Her teacher asks,
"But what should I say?
Who should I tell her
the cookies are from?"

"Just tell her
that she is a precious treasure.
And the cookies
are from the people
who love her."

Sometimes the stories are so hard.


smcninch said...

Oh, but look at the beautiful memory you've created for her. Yes, stories and life can be hard, which is why it is always important to err on the side of kindness which you and your colleagues did today. Thank you for the precious treasure of a memory for your student, you and all of us who read your post.

Ms. K said...

I love the line breaks in this. To me, it emphasizes S's brokenesss and also the importance of the level of care you and your fellow staff members offered her. Beautiful piece.

Ona said...

This is so beautiful. Sad - but so beautiful. I'm so happy that the staff was able to make things come together -- bringing joy is such a joy.

And sad stories are just so sad. ;(

Linda B said...

I'm sure you see this too often, and what a gift you and your staff are to those children. It is so hard, but you showed her she is not alone. Heartbreaking, but a warm story because of you, Carol.

Mandy said...

The stories are so hard but this story turned into a positive story in her life. What a wonderful thing to offer her even when it made your day so much busier.

Ramona said...

Carol, I love the stories you share and the teacher you are. One who loves and continues to love even through the hard stories. This is a birthday she will never forget.

Unknown said...

You're so right. Sometimes the stories ARE so hard. But that's what makes our job all the more important. It's days like this where the "lesson" you taught this student goes far beyond any other lesson you've taught in class. I hate that the stories are hard, but the love you offered today is the best part of this story. Thanks so much for sharing!

Elisabeth Ellington said...

I remember my first year teaching, at the end of the year my seniors were cleaning out their lockers, and one of them had a birthday card I'd given him back in Sept hanging in his locker. He told me it was the only card he got that year. After that, I was diligent about making sure each student got a card, a pack of gum, and a special pencil on their birthday. Your slice today is a beautiful story about making the hard just a little easier to bear for everyone.