Yesterday was our first day in our school year. It was marvelous, fast paced, and exhausting. It can be difficult to move on to a whole new group of children when the children you just had are only 20 feet away in the classroom next door. They were such a great group of children that I was having trouble really coming to terms with the transition.
They did so much work in the garden, and loved it as much if not more than I did. One of my favorite moments last year was when O was standing in the garden, eyes closed, face up and towards the sun and declared, “This is my favorite place in the whole world, I wish I could stay here forever.”
I brought a group of new children to the garden today. They learned how to turn the water on, they walked along all the paths between plots and discovered which are treacherous and which are too weed filled to walk in. We watered our plot, and discovered a cucumber that was ready to eat. It was the first one that has grown this season.
K was the one to pick it, and he allowed others to hold it for just a moment before making sure it made it’s way back into his grip.
K announced, “I can bring this home and show my daddy!”
I must admit, I became rather flustered at that statement and told him he could not bring it home. K began to cry and became upset. I tried to explain it was so we could eat it for snack the next day but of course that meant he could technically bring it home and bring it back the next day for snack.
The problem wasn’t the cucumber, or K’s desire to bring it home. It is just a cucumber. The cucumber though meant something important to me. It represented my previous classroom of children who I have not yet moved on from.
I took a big breathe and said to K, “I am having a really hard time with the idea of you bringing the cucumber home. Can I tell you why?”
K calmed down, crouched down next to me and waited for me to continue.
“Do you know who grew this cucumber? I did with my last classroom. They haven’t had a chance to see the cucumber, they don’t even know it has grown and been picked. And I am having a hard time letting go of them. I really loved them. Do you think it would be okay for me to keep the cucumber until tomorrow then we can eat the cucumber together for snack?”
K listened to intently to my words, nodding as I got halfway through. He told me yes, that was okay. That what he wanted since he couldn’t bring the cucumber home was a photo of the cucumber to bring home. So we went inside, took a photo, printed out some copies, and gave one to everyone that wanted one.
I won’t show the cucumber to my old children today. They aren’t my kids anymore. I have though had time to come to terms with that, and will be able to enjoy a cucumber salad with my new children today. I have also been able to see how important it is to be honest with ourselves, and our children.