If you are reading me for the first time let me explain Facts of Five. It was a concept I used when I taught students with special needs in a self contained classroom. I presented a category such as ‘Five Cartoons’ or ‘Five Items to Eat on your Pizza’ and the students had to consider an idea that fit the group. It was fun, yet thought generating and in the meantime, I was able to get to know what was important to my students.
So our category for today is ‘Heart-wrenching Moments within the Past Week’…and I’ll begin~
1.) Our principal called a staff meeting yesterday at the end of the day; not significant except it was a Friday at 4:00 so it couldn’t have been positive news. It wasn’t. A student in our special needs class passed away; may she be laughing and singing with God in the Heavens. I asked the friend beside me if she had ever had a student die which took me to Lizzie Lou; the name I playfully gave her and addressed her as, but her name was Liz. She was a child full of life, her heart displayed true joy and it radiated to those around her. Our lives were entwined for years far beyond our four years of sharing the classroom. Lizzie Lou died as a student in high school but not a showery day passes without thoughts of her. One day as a child of seven or eight it was raining tumultuously and Liz stomped into the classroom looking as if she just exited the pool stating emphatically, “My dad forgot to give me my Rain-brella!” On rainy days I happily remind my family to take their rain-brella as I eagerly remember mine. Love you Lizzie Lou!
2.) My son Nicholas had his first band concert and I personally was thrilled with the enthusiasm and pride those sixth grade students exhibited. However, they weren’t the only ones as parents and grandparents poised still and video cameras as if their adolescent had just won an American Music Award. The students have learned a great deal in 12 weeks, I look forward to their next performance. Who would have thought my kid would be a Band Geek?
3.) My mom had her heart broken by the sudden and unexpected death of a friend and neighbor who was only 52 years old. That is only two years older than me. I felt my mother’s pain for the loss and anticipated loneliness she will experience in the days, weeks and months to come. However, I also felt recognition of my countless blessings. While I have moments, or days where I want to hibernate and avoid the world with scores of demons and evils, I recognize I have Life and all that that entails.
4.) I am blessed by numerous devoted caring people in my life and my memory is evoked precisely at moments when I think I am alone in this world. The stark reminders come as hugs and tears on my behalf from friends, e-mails that ask ‘Are you okay? I’m thinking of you!’ unexpected visitors at my door and text messages that simply say, ‘I love you!’ Maybe the world isn’t such a bad place after all, or at least my world.
5.) One of my students has had a rough week. On any given day, his positive behaviors are rewarded at the end of the day by playing with Lego’s. Well, one day when he didn’t earn this prize he snuck in and was busted in the dark playing without permission so Lego’s have been banned for a week. Therefore, even though he was having a particularly stellar day he wasn’t allowed to participate in that activity so I encouraged him with words of ‘Hang in there, only a few days left’ to which he replied, “Yeah, I need to get my old life back.” ...I know just what you mean Little Guy, me too!