They say a drowning person’s life passes before his eyes, and I believe this to be true, because a similar phenomenon happened to me. In the few seconds between the ringing of the bell and the moment the first tidal wave of youngsters hit the elementary hall- way, there played before my eyes in excruciating detail a record of every single misbehavior I had ever seen committed by a small child. There was the three-year-old I’d seen punch his entreating mother squarely in the nose because she wanted him to stay in the church nursery. I saw grocery store tantrums of varying intensities, ranging from whining at the checkout line to full-fledged tantrums in the aisles. Next, I remembered a five-year-old cousin’s complete domination of all adults present at an Easter Sunday dinner as she screamed at high volume over not being allowed to eat chocolate as a first course, and there was more, much more.
My eyes were wide with terror, and I was staring sightlessly at the wall when I was brought to the present by a tug at my skirt. I forced myself to focus upon a tiny girl who was looking up at me curiously. “Are you Mrs. Boin?” she asked. I knelt in front of her and admitted that I was indeed, Mrs. Birn.
“Teacher!” she exclaimed, and with no more introduction than this, she put her arms around my neck for a quick, shy hug, then ducked into the classroom. Her name was Jenny Malone, and by that one sweet gesture, she enabled me to get a grip on my churning insides. I turned to greet the other children.
March 2014: The Children Are Tender
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Book Excerpt: First Day of School
Hope you enjoy this excerpt from chapter 4 of The Children Are Tender: