so today . . . i had a terrible headache.
i used to get headaches quite often, but now i only get them occasionally. this one was a doozy! i was going to try to go home early, but there were staffing issues, so i decided to stay and tough it out.
i was seriously, truly, dreading recess. we are still confined to the gym, because of the construction on the new building, and when you let those kids loose after a morning of sitting and listening and working, they really know how to release all that pent-up energy! generally there is a lot of running, chasing, bike riding, and laughing, but it is LOUD running, chasing, bike riding, and laughing. and it isn't out of the ordinary to also hear some screaming (sometimes accompanied by smiles and sometimes not,) and crying. i did not know how my headache and i were going to cope . . .
i stationed myself by the sunny window, and prepared to manage my pain. all i wanted was for calm to reign, which of course was not going to happen. but i would have settled for just being left alone--no fights to break up, no arguments to referee, no bandaids to apply--just peaceful playing. and as luck would have it, things seemed to be progressing fairly smoothly . . .
. . . and then, a small body with two long brown braids came running across the room toward me. usually when this particular little body comes running toward me, it is to tattle on someone or complain about something. usually. but today, susannah* just sort of stood next to me and played with my chain belt.
i love the difficult kids. i can't explain it. they make my job harder, but i love them. i spend more one on one time with them, because i have to. we can have several days filled with turmoil and conflict (which can make me think one or the other of us needs drugs!) and then have a day where they are calm and kind and loving and helpful. of course that never lasts, but it is so sweet, because it is so rare. and yet those days happen often enough to remind me that beneath their difficult behavior is someone's precious, darling child.
susannah* is one of those kids. she likes to push the boundaries. she likes to ignore her teachers. she likes to do what she wants, when she wants, in the way she wants. but she also likes to straighten things up, and help her teachers, and wishes desperately that the other kids liked to play with her. today as she was standing next to me playing with my chain belt while i was trying to keep my head from popping off my body, i said to her, "i am really going to miss you when you go to another school next year." i was feeling all warm and fuzzy--headaches do that to me sometimes. i was kind of expecting a hug and an "i'll miss you too." but what she said was, "yeah, i'll really miss this belt."
"and," she continued, "the chain watch." (the chain watch is a watch locket that a student gave me. i've worn it the last couple of days, and she is fascinated by the way it opens and closes.) "won't you miss me?" i asked. (i know it is kind of pathetic, but as i said, i was feeling all warm and fuzzy.) "no," she said, "just this belt."
ok, well, maybe my love for difficult kids is unrequited. maybe they just love my accessories. i guess my impact isn't nearly as important as i thought it was.
because apparently i am expendable, but my chain belt? apparently it is unforgettable!
*i changed the name. i don't always do that, but just in case a parent happens to stumble across this blog . . . although, the truth is, any parent who reads this is going to know exactly who i am talking about. but still . . .