One of the reasons I love my little low paying job is because I am with 5 year olds all day. They are as real and honest as it gets. Somehow by the time a kid turns 8 or 9, they have already learned to bottle up their emotions. With a 5 year old, they say what they mean and mean what they say.
Yesterday, when I walked in the kindergarten area, I was greeted with shouts of "Happy Birthday, Mrs. Hackney!" And every time, I walked through a class, more shouts. To the point I had to stop and instruct them to just wink at me from now on. I'm sure the teachers were so over the disruption I was causing, but I was reveling in it. Two classes made me a Birthday Book......where each child writes the words Happy Birthday! and draws a picture of a cake with candles on it.
They were told I was 23.....so they believed it. That is an intangible number to a 5 year old so it sounded old to them.
They were told my favorite cake is pumpkin pie (it really is) so many of them drew a pumpkin pie instead of a birthday cake.
And the day went on full of love and best wishes. I had an internal glowing all day.
Until about 3:00.
One of my favorite kids this year is a little boy who is very solemn and quiet. When he does speak, he says something like, "How's your day going, Mrs. Hackney?"
Ugh. Right to the heart, that one. He's wise beyond his years and he's a worrier. He happens to be the oldest child with 2 younger siblings. And his parents are divorced and now he is moving. Away. From me. From US. The US that has invested 12 weeks into this child and have fallen in love with him. Ugh.
Up until yesterday, it was unsure whether it was his last day, but around 3:00 pm.....it was determined...by a phone call.
The teacher went over to his table after packing up his things and leaned down by him saying in a quiet voice "today is going to be your last day.....you are moving to your new house."
Because he is so solemn, he just nodded okay.
But the boy who sits next to him........he overheard the teacher......and he did a double-take.....
Other Boy: But wait...... He's
moving? He's leaving? But.......
He's my best friend.........
(and here come the tears.....more like a flood...)
And the teacher and me?
We had to look away to keep the moving away boy from seeing our pain. It was palpable. It hung in the air.
As I left the area for the day, I told the moving away boy that I would see him later. Not goodbye.
I said, "Who knows? Maybe I'll see you in the store sometime." (huge lump in my throat)
He said, "Yea, Mrs. Hackney....I'll say hi to you."
A risk of the job: heartache