Most of the time, I'm perfectly happy to send Connor off to school each morning. There are obvious benefits to the free, public education provided at our neighborhood school. And what a difference a year can make. He's made friends easily this year, he understands the rhythms of the day. His classroom teacher understands and so clearly cares about him. She put him in his own word study group, and he loves that. He sees his gifted teacher twice each week now, and she absolutely loves him. She'll be with Connor through the fifth grade, which provides a nice bit of consistency for him. Prior to his broken arm, Connor was really having a fun time with the boys on his soccer team. He really seemed to have figured the school and complementary activities out. Dare I say, the year was almost easy?
But I confess to a few moments that still make my heart do a little lurch. Most of these have to do with the art curriculum, but I'm taking the ostrich approach to that. I also felt a little sad when Connor broke his arm because typically at recess, he runs around with several other boys playing soccer, or plays chase with another set of friends. Neither of those activities are good for broken arms. I imagined a kid sort of drifting around the playground, waiting for the bell to let him leave his misery. Since I think recess is quite possibly the most important thing Connor does each day, the thought of him not enjoying it hurt my heart.
Imagine my pleasant surprise when I went to volunteer in Connor's class last week at the Halloween party. I arrived early enough to see him at recess, and was prepared to bring him inside with me so he wouldn't have to see all those kids running around and having fun without him. He had told me before that he wasn't really doing much at recess, although he sometimes "hung out with the girls". When I arrived, leaving early was not what he had in mind. Instead, he showed me this:
As it turns out, he and a few friends have been building "birdhouses" on the school playground. A mom of one of the girls happened to be volunteering with me and while we set up for the party as recess continued, she mentioned that some of the girls have really enjoyed Connor's arm being broken, because it means they get to play with him at recess. That warmed my heart.
That ended up being one of those days that I was pretty happy to send Connor to our neighborhood school. Today was another one of those days. When I walked Connor home from school, he was so excited to tell me that his teacher had given him a new book, just because she thought it was too hard for the rest of the class and that he would enjoy it. Enjoy it he did - reading the whole thing before bed tonight. Thank you, universe, for placing these kind children and educators in our path.