She wasn’t the best behaved child, it’s true. Hours were spent merely trying to get her to stay in one place, to pick up a pencil, to do something that was anything she was asked to be doing.
I saw her mother hold the paper in her hand, I could see the faint outline of a heart on the other side, and elaborate designs all alongside the paper. It was a Mother’s Day card, typed.
Her Mom looked at it, and smiling and happy, said “What does this mean? I don’t understand it, I’ll read it later, you have to go to your lesson.”
The small child started to pout, started to shuffle her feet, started to slip into the I-Will-Do-Absolutely-Nothing-But-Sulk mode. “NO! Read it now!” She half shouted and half complained.
The Mother softly obliged, began reading and then spoke again in a laughing voice, to excuse the words, “But, I don’t understand it. What did you write here? That “you are happy that I’m alive”? What does that mean? It doesn’t make sense. You have to have it make sense, now go to your lesson.”
The little girl stood, twisting her juice box in her hands, letting fruit punch drip onto the floor and her shirt and her hands, twisting and sipping, leaning on the wall, visibly upset and angry.
“No!” She yelled again, “I didn’t even want you to read it!” She snatched the letter from her Mother’s hands, crumpled it up, and threw it into the recycling bin. “Go to class silly,” her Mother lightheartedly responded, as if the last few moments had no impact on her daughter at all.
She did not go to class. She wandered, she sulked, she went and sat in a chair next to her mother, who I now noticed, was straightening out a crumpled sheet of paper and trying to read it again.
At some point her Mother shooed her away. Eventually the daughter came into the classroom and I tried very hard to distract her into learning, while she sat in the office chair, spinning in circles, falling out of the chair, and chewing on the straw from her crumpled juice box.