School Visits: Small Treasures

I am preparing to hit the road tonight, three nights away from my home and family, and I’ll be honest: a big part of me hates being away. The leaving is the worst part.

No, there are no tearful farewells. My middle schoolers just yawn, shrug; they know they are in good hands with Mom, and understand that I’ll be back. It’s normal. The cats don’t care. The dog, baffled as always.

I’ll be happy when I’m there, mostly, and enjoy the schools, the teachers and students. And I will also now admit, finally and at last, that I know I’m doing something worthwhile. We’re talking about things that matter, about finding what you love, about books and writing, family and kindness. It’s good stuff that I bring in my little bag, glad tidings from the generous heart of children’s literature.

So I was packing, cleaning out old papers, making sure I had the right books. And I found this, amidst a clutter of similar pages:

I’ll tell you how it typically happens. I’m walking down the hall with a teacher, on my way to setup the Power Point or to the library to sign books. Heading to the next thing. Children in the halls sort of stare at me and whisper. Then some sweet someone comes up and hands me a page, we chat a shy moment, I stuff it into my bag, says thanks, move on.

Just another treasure I don’t fully value at the proper moment. I’m rushing to the next place, or blathering about something with an adult. I mean, I’m not rude, I’m not a jerk to these kids. Just that it takes me a month to dig the page out of my bag and look at it again, seeing it maybe for the first time, thinking again again again: how lucky am I?

At least somebody’s excited.

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