remember the gumballs

This morning my sunshiney--I say "sunshiney" not to indicate mood, but to point out the sun was actually SHINING today after eons of hiding, so I was already predisposed to love this day whose beginning consisted of the normal daily 2nd grade life. Folders, questions, lunch sticks and morning work. And into these moments popped a student who hitched up one leg, way up, looked me dead in the eye and said, "LOOK!"

I mean. Pure pride. The zeal of a zealot. "LOOK!"

I looked for a haircut. No.
I looked at the glasses. Fixed, but not new.

He didn't actually say it three times, but the moment--it stretched on into forever. His one-legged stance being my most pressing clue in an island of mystery.

Gasp! I finally put it all together. "Look at you with your new shoelaces!" 

"I know!" He said.

"And so well tied!"

"They are brand new!" --and, brother, with that bright, bright red I could tell.

The thing is, I told my coworker about this later on in the morning.
"Yesterday I told him to tie his shoe and he said they were tied. I said, "They're tied only on one side that's why your shoe keeps falling off!"

And I just know I was giving him the business the entire time I was tieing that busy, dusty little sneaker. But then I forgot. I forgot all about that conversation.

But he brought it home.

This conversation that I was hard pressed to remember even when he was standing on one foot in front of me.

That's the thing about teaching that is as charming to me as it is potentially horrifying. What moments do they bring home?

We're all people--all of us in this building. And we spend lots and lots of time together. We live lots and lots of conversations. Alive, awake, no device, face-to-face conversations.

And honestly, at this age they're forgetful. It can be such an irritating trait, but it is also such a blessing because most of their forgetting adds up to a forgiveness that adults may not always deserve.

Today at the end of the day after we finished a book we had started reading earlier, I was telling them a story about a gumball machine that always malfunctioned at our house. I think we bought it broken, to be honest. And even as I was telling the story I could hardly get it out because I was laughing so at the ridiculous memory.

And they--they were so tickled that it was the kind of laughter that would turn a sinner to a saint. That rolling childish bubbly laugh that is the absolute epitome of pure happiness.

Now THAT was a moment. And they'll remember that too. Some day they'll pass by my classroom in the afternoon and the angle of the afternoon sun through the blinds will remind them of a thousand 2nd grade moments.

I hope they remember the standards. I hope they remember the lessons. I hope they remember the math and the writing and the reading.

But I also hope they remember the shoestrings. I hope they remember the stories we read. I hope they remember the gumballs.

~originally published February 2019

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