It was getting later and later.
My watch told me it was now approaching five thirty! Club dismisses at 4:45 p.m..
It was early February and now dark outside. The school parking lot was empty and the outside lights were shining on the snow piles, reflecting with a glare.
All but one of my garden club students had been picked up by their respective adults. But, here I stood in the atrium of the school entrance waiting with A. again. This had become a regular occurrence with A. after our garden club meetings.
Again, I could see the worry cross his face. He did not know his phone number; I already knew that from the first time this happened last fall. He had no way to contact her.
“Where’s my mom?” he asked me in a serious tone, eyes so filled with tears they were near to spilling over.
I’m sure she’s on her way, I reassured him, although I really did not know where she was.
A. was a second grade student. Second graders are the very youngest of my garden club students. In most cases, being in garden club is the first time they’ve been able to stay after school for any reason. They are always teetering on the brink of wanting to be independent and needing reassurance.
This particular student was not sure about being in club. But, he kept coming. Each month he’d show up to our meeting and would quietly participate by listening and doing the activity but not really voluntarily contribute.
In December, I felt I made a “break through” with him. We were writing holiday acrostic poems based on plants. I asked for volunteers to read their poem when it was done. Several students, the usual few, were eager to comply. I noticed that when I made my way around the room to check on the students’ work, A. had finished a nice poem. He was an English Language Learner or ESL student. Yet, his poem was as well done as any of his peers. After the eager students had shared, I asked A. if he wanted to read his poem aloud, he declined. A few minutes later, after a few more students had shared, A.’s hand went up. I called on him. He indicated he was ready to share his poem! I was so proud of him!
Unfortunately, it was after this meeting that his mom did not arrive to retrieve him at dismissal. I had her number in my cell phone as this had happened before, several times.
Did I mention he was in second grade?
As A. looked up at me, with his big brown eyes ready to spill tears over his ruddy cheeks, I said, “Look, I’ll try to call her again. Okay? She’s probably just running late.”
This time she answered. I told her that A. and I were waiting for her to pick him up and that dismissal time had been 45 minutes ago. She responded that she would get on her way and be there soon.
A. remained strong and the tears never did flow. But, it was the last time I saw him in club that year.
Today is Day 7 of the 31 day Slice of Life Story Challenge. Thank you to TwoWritingTeachers.org for organizing and hosting this challenge!
Typically, on Sunday, I make a wordless post. It is called Silent Sunday and features only my own photographs on a theme of my choosing. Since the SOLSC is a writing challenge, I felt it was inappropriate to just post photographs, so today you have a true story from the late winter of 2019. If you’d like to check out my Silent Sunday posts, you just have to use the search bar on my blog to do so….there are four years worth of Sunday photos! Thanks!