As I lazily woke up this morning my first thoughts of were of the last few days of school. It gleefully dawned on me that I only had two more mornings of ‘School Wake Up” and then summer would begin. I started to think of all I still need to do (my desk is a mess, the new books have not been shelved…..etc…) and as always my thoughts turned to the kids. The students are the absolute best part of my job and the reason I love it so much. I was thinking about all the students that I promised to hook up with Summer reading before they leave and of the 5th graders that will be moving on. And then the noise in my head settled on Owen. Owen is a 2nd grader that will be moving to Australia next week and I miss him already. Owen is a bright light and a joy to share stories with. He is smart, quirky, unfailingly polite, sensitive and inquisitive and someone I look forward to seeing when I walk into the school. Owen makes me better at what I do and a better person. My head is crowded with ‘Owenisms”
He is a voracious reader. He is always asking for books and telling me why or why not he likes them. I trust his judgement 100%.
He is a tiny nugget. His hair is always messy,
He always says Please and Thank you.
On our very first Show and Tell day last year he wrote a report about The King of Versailles. He had written the report on a piece of paper and stapled a picture of the king on the back so that we could see who he was talking about. When he was finished I was pretty speechless and the only thing I could say was “Owen, why did you chose to show and tell about The King of Versailles” and he said ‘He is very interesting and my favorite king’. I said “Thank you for sharing, it was very interesting” but in my head I was thinking “Holy you know what! You are 6! Where the hell did that come from?”.
He knows how much I love to peel oranges at lunch duty and impishly asks me to do so.
When I was here for summer reading he wold come visit and bring his little brother to pick a book.
He loved telling me about Australia.
One day in first grade he wore 2 different shoes to school and owned it the whole day.
He always says hello to me even if I had just seen him in class.
He has the biggest brown eyes.
Whenever I read a funny part of a Junie B. Jones book he would throw his head back and laugh with his whole body. Sometimes when Junie B. would do something fresh in the story he would just shake his head like he could not believe anyone could be that naughty.
He broke his back this year and spent gym time in the office reading. I tried to make some time to sit with him and we had the best conversations.
He never complained.
He was “The Man with The yellow Hat” from Curious George for Dress as your Favorite Character Day. Enough said.
He asked me to buy a book about King Tut for the school library. (He likes kings!)
Whenever I spoke about him with his teacher, Janeen, she would smile. We all know how special he is.
Recently, one of the last times we checked out books this year, he was looking through the books on the table making his selection. This took time and I never rushed him. Remember I bring the books to the classrooms. We do not have a Library. He picked up one of the books that had so graciously been donated in my Dad’s memory. He looked at the cover, turned it over and read the summary on the back and then opened the book to the front page where he saw the Bookplate dedicating the book to my Dad. In a roomful of noisy students and chaos time seemed to slow down and the noise fade away as I watched this sweet boy run his finger over the Bookplate, he was kind of gently rubbing it and then he looked up at me. He saw me watching him and he looked right into my eyes and then my heart when he reached out to me with the same hand and very slowly patted my arm and said “I am sorry about your Dad”. I could not answer this angel of a boy and only smiled and nodded my head.
I know he will go on to learn many great things and touch many hearts. I sadly realize that he will only remember bits and pieces of his years at the Mckinkey, I only hope that he knows he is taking a piece of the Mckinley School with him. And a piece of my heart. And I hope that the King of Versailles will always be his favorite king. He will always be one of my favorite boys.