Dance Interrupted

Sad little girl sitting excluded by the other kids

Sad little girl sitting excluded by the other kids

She was one of my quietest students. Hardly saying a word. Hidden behind long hair and glasses. But warm-hearted. Every day, before leaving, she waited in the doorway to say goodbye with a hug. And a smile.

Like clockwork.

Quiet. Hidden. Warm hearted. Hugger.

A couple of weeks ago I returned to the classroom after having lunch with my colleagues. It was time for our Valentine Party. And there she was, in the middle of the room.

Dancing.

Singing.

“We’re going to have a party! A Valentine Party!”

My jaw dropped. Where had this little spark plug been hiding? My wallflower, had blossomed into a wildflower.

Ready to get the party started.

Amidst the dancing, singing, and chaos that consumed my classroom, I heard the phone ring in the background. It was the office calling.

They wanted my quiet-hidden-warmhearted-hugger-turned-dancing-wildflower to go to the office. Immediately. Her grandfather had just been admitted to the hospital, and Mom was coming to take her there.

I had to break the news, and look into those no-longer-hidden eyes.

Tears streaming.

Dance interrupted.

Song suspended.

Party over.

I hurriedly helped her pass out her Valentine cards, pack her belongings, and head to the office. My hand on her shoulder, I tried to reassure her that things would work out. I searched for words of comfort. But the best tool in my bag was a hug. So I gave her a few of them.

She’d been quiet the past few weeks, with grandpa doing better at home. Once again hidden. But still warm hearted. At the end of each day, still waiting like clockwork to say goodbye with a hug. And a smile.

This morning, she left a note on my desk. It simply stated: “Saturday. 10am. Weston Funeral Home.”

Grandpa.

Later this morning, we gathered as a class to discuss what happened to our little wildflower’s grandfather. We shed tears with her, and offered hugs and notes throughout the afternoon.

Hugging her, as she says goodbye.

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13 thoughts on “Dance Interrupted

  1. Oh, Greg, this is so beautifully written. My heart is breaking for that little girl. How wonderful, though, that she has your loving presence to help her through this difficult time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s always difficult for anyone to experience death, but heart-breaking for us to watch children grieve. I’m sure her parents are thankful not only for a teacher who obviously knows each child so well but cares for the whole child. Thank you for being that teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t even know where to begin. This is such a lovely post and I loved how you crafted that beginning. When you got to the party and finding her dancing in your room I just smiled. A sweet moment captured. But then that phone call…..and I knew.

    What an amazing gift you have given this little girl. A safe place and a teacher and class who give her what she needs. Hugs to you…

    Liked by 1 person

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