Beauty in the day: today around 1:30 pm, the Lead Teacher at Summer School came whizzing past my desk, exclaiming in a very loud whisper, “Kelly! Come here! Hurry! You have to see this!” He led the way into the Workroom, and carefully dialed open the blinds to reveal one of our prior first grade friends who had transferred to another program, disembarked from his bus, sporting a long red cape, and thigh-high red Super-Hero boots. It was an adorable and heart-melting sight, eclipsed only by the even cuter behavior of the Lead Teacher, giggling with glee at the scene.
Beauty in the day: he missed his van. He came in, his little self all hot and sweaty; his breathing labored with concern. “I was late because I got lost,” he said by way of explanation.
“How could you get lost, Friend? You wait in the same place every day. ”
But he didn’t wait in the same place today. He stole away to the playground, the temptation being too great since he ended his day with a different teacher, and the sun was hot in the sky. Then the true reason for his semi-frightened demeanor unveiled itself: when he knew he had missed the van, he decide to try to walk to the Boys & Girls Club by himself. This is when he got “lost”, though he hadn’t actually gotten anywhere.
“Friend, ” I began, with my hands on either side of his face. I stroked his hair back a few times, and then continued, “you must never, never try to go to the Boys & Girls Club on your own. Never. If you miss your van, that’s a bad thing, right?” He agreed. “But if you try to walk there alone, that is a much worse thing, because there are too many dangers. If you miss your van, it’s okay to come to me and say ‘Ms. Nordstrom, a bad thing happened’, and then we can work together to fix it. Okay?” He nodded. But what with the trauma of the moment, I knew I wouldn’t be serenaded today with a Spanish-Gaelic song.
Beauty in the day: the day was over. The kids had all gone home. At least, that’s what I thought. The PM Preschoolers had been walked out to their bus, and now that they were all safely in said bus, the teachers left. This left the young, cool Jamaican bus driver in a quandary, since a little girl in the front seat announced that she HAD to go potty. She was adamant about it, and he was very unsure what to do. He managed to get my attention, and I went out to him and learned of his situation. “I can take her into the school, and you stay here with your riders. No problem.” He was very grateful, but immediately became semi-horrified when, one-by-one, all the little tykes were claiming that they, too, HAD to go (“Bus Driver, Bus Driver!”). He started out by telling them that they could NO WAY go (“I know these kids, and they are just trying to have fun,” he revealed, his dreadlocks bobbing). Then you could see the doubt begin to creep in, as he looked to the left, and then to the right, and then back at me.
“We can just take a field trip. I don’t mind. I can take them all.” This was just too much for him. I couldn’t take them ALL. He suddenly became all business, and settled for a particular 4 children to go on this adventure. They came down the bus steps to me, and I got them to line up and follow me. The bus driver called after me, “That little guy will need some help with his pants. He can’t do it by himself.” I found myself semi-impressed: I guess he DOES know these kids! And by the way: he was right.