I hadn’t been retired from teaching for very many years when I took stock of my life and realized that there was a big hole in it. I didn’t want a full or even a part-time teaching job with its unending red tape and eight hour Sunday marathons of reading essays and planning lessons. I didn’t miss that part of teaching at all. Nope…it was the kids. I loved those kids! Brilliant or struggling, interested or bored, I missed them all.
Then one morning in my neighborhood coffee shop, with a fresh, foamy cappuccino in front of me, I heard a munchkin pleading with his mom to “please please read to me; now!”
But mom had her hands full with twins. “Not now, honey!” was her plaintive reply.
That’s when an idea occurred to me: a Saturday morning reading session!
The coffee shop’s owner was on board with the idea. I printed up some flyers and headed to my local library’s wonderful collection of children’s books.
I never knew how many kids to expect so I picked up a good baker’s dozen, both old familiar favorites and some new titles.
The first session brought two kids; a week later I had four, then seven. Parents were pleased to get 30 minutes or so to themselves, the coffee shop owner was happy with the added business, and me? Well, I was ecstatic!
A few weeks later, when I’d ended with my usual farewell (“That’s all for today. I thank you for being such good story partners!”) a charming little preschooler sidled up to me with a small package.
“I made it myself! It’s for you,” she said with pride. Her look of eagerness was all I needed to know I’d best unwrap this in a hurry.
“Do you like it? Huh? Do you?”
O darlin,’ there’s no way you could know how much I liked that little bracelet. I still do. I think of her every year when I decorate the tree.