The Kindergartner

With my index and middle fingers, I wiped tears off of my cheekbone. “How red is my face” I wondered as I took a few breaths to center myself. My break was over and it was time to head back to the classroom where I was subbing as a kindergarten aide.

The students were working on a cooperation project and split into teams of four. Each student had to color in a piece of a kite in an exercise to promote teamwork. They were busy drawing circles and lines when I walked into the room, keeping my head down, and returned to my work tracing flowers. Before I could reach my chair, a blonde six-year-old left hers to greet me.

“One hug,” she said as wrapped her short arms around my thighs. Tears swelled at the bottom of my eyelids. It’s as if she could read the imaginary sign on my forehead screaming for some indication that it will all be OK.

Moments before, I was told that my Peace Corps re-enrollment application will be on hold for six months because of a slight medical issue. Although it’s not serious, it presents yet another hiccup in my quest to be a Peace Corps Volunteer. (More on this decision later.) Six more months of waiting, of searching.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see that white flag. I am tempted to raise it, but I can’t. Because when you feel like you’ve run out of options, the best thing that can happen to you is a hug from a kindergartner, who has a deeper hope than any adult.

More hugs filled my day and I could leave the school with a smile. It isn’t over. Kindergartners don’t give up on their dreams, neither should I.

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3 thoughts on “The Kindergartner

  1. Kids are such a wonderful source of pure, innocent, unadulterated affection. Teaching in Guatemala was one of my favorite things for that reason. I’ve never received so many hugs in my life.

    I know that a six month delay feels like another punch in your already-beaten stomach, but in the scope of things Heather, it’s nothing. Six months is the blink of an eye. Six months ago I was just beginning law school. Six months ago my now-walking niece was just learning how to sit up on her own. Six months ago all of your friends were missing the shit out of you because you were half a world away.

    When you’re meant to do something, what is six more months?

  2. Alison, thank you so much. Kids really do give you perspective on life.
    Roxy, I heart you. And, always, you are right.

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