I was sick and missed three days of school last week. Normally I work when I’m sick, but the vertigo pretty much assured I had to stay still. I went into work briefly on Wednesday, but left for a doctor’s appointment. I went into work briefly on Thursday, but was sent home because I couldn’t walk without hanging onto the wall. Friday I didn’t bother to try. I spent the day at home in my jammies.
Yesterday I was back in the classroom. Pansy Petite is the first student I see every morning. She comes into the classroom at 7:45 a.m. to get a spoon and her breakfast, which she takes to the production room to eat. She is the Director of, Lincoln Live, the daily student news broadcast. Pansy just turned eleven on her last birthday. On her next birthday she will be thirty-five.
So, she opens the door, steps into the room and greets me with her customary, “Good-moring Ms. A.” That greeting is usually followed by the crisply formal question, “What important things are on our agenda this day?” She always tips her chin up just a bit and looks down her nose at me as she asks — an interesting fete since she is the shortest kid in class.
Monday morning her, “Good morning, Ms. A.” was followed by the same head tilt and look, but a different question emerged: “So, do you plan on staying with us for the entire day?” I just can’t help it. I laugh everytime she gets like this. And when I laugh her eyes roll up and to the side, her left hip juts out and she taps her right foot. It is not insolence. This is the way she gets when something is very important to her.
Grinning at her I answered drily, “Well, Pansy, I’m going to give it my best shot.”
She relaxed then and a big grin crossed her face. “Good,” she said, “We were very worried about you.” Then she grabbed her spoon, spun on the ball of her foot and left the room with a bounce in her step, eleven years old again.