Packing Their Suitcases

"I don't want to sit next to her." We only have 4 days left of school. Four days to pack their little suitcases and send them off to big kid school. I scramble and scrabble and cram. I find just one more thing that must go into the case, but then here comes something else I have to make sure gets in.

"Remember how I said yesterday that you sowed a seed when you excluded her from your game? Now she doesn't want to sit next to you. You will have to take the time to heal that hurt. You have to take the time to tend that seed you planted."

"Yes," she nods solemnly, "I will have to take the time to heal this." And she did. There they were playing"family" together only moments later, but will the lesson stick? Will she remember this lesson about reaping what you sow?

Later, a group of us sat drawing. Someone needed a sign that said, "This is mine" for a ship that he cobbled together from boards and a beanbag chair, that no one, in the whole world, ever, should come near. He didn't want to take the pen in his own hand to write it. I wrote it for him. Something clicked. He wanted to draw a ship. He must have thought, "She can write, but surely I will be the one to draw the ship." And he did. He looked up, thrilled, "This is my first drawing of a ship!" I wanted to say to him, "Quick, let's draw everything we can. We only have four days!"

I finally bought all of the Garmann series of books by the Norwegian author Stian Hole and in Garmann's Summer, I found just the right mixture of emotions that the end of school brings to us each year. We talked about the idea of BITTERSWEET and mostly, we talked about how it is alright to be scared.

The book ends with these words...Thirteen hours until school starts. And Garmann is  -- I paused in the reading. What word would the children give me to fill in that last sentence?

They gave me "happy" and "excited". "No," I told them quietly, "Garmann is scared."

"Oh," they whispered back. He is scared. And that is okay. Garmann has to sit with his fear, just as each of us does. We have to hold dear the sweet and know that the bitter makes a matched set. Without the bitter, we may forget to savor the sweet and without the scared, how would we know to walk with forward motion towards the unknown and make it known?

The Jolly Roger