we are sitting side by side on the couch, shoulders and elbows touching as we lean over the book. we're taking turns reading- me, the hard words like 'would' and 'could', big sister the easy words like 'sam i am' and 'not eat them with a mouse', little sister the repetitive words 'i could not, would not in a house'.
we examine the pictures, search for the mouse, giggle over silly sam, and awe over little sister's ability to predict that sam WILL eat the green eggs and ham.
the conference is over and mom looks at us, sighing, letting me know it is time to go. the girls stand up silently as well, hugging the dr. suess books to their chests as though they are cuddling with a teddy bear. i find myself wanting to do the same, but i can't- i'm the adult.
goodbye! thank you for having us! we say, and my partner-in-crime and i head out the door of the apartment. the girls quietly wave behind us- shy waves compared to the excited shouts when we first entered their house. now we've seen their baby pictures hanging on the wall, the framed certificates from school- perfect attendance awards, 'pledge of allegiance' award, completing head-start awards, proudly displaying their accomplishments. we've seen the family photo featuring family members they no longer live with. we watched big brother literally climb up the wall to impress us.
they are a family we have known for years- girls i have been teaching one after another for three years straight now. girls we've spent sleepless nights wondering if they were going to be ok, girls we've bought christmas presents for under the secret name of 'santa'.
for a few moments we were bound together as readers in a way only true readers can be- cuddled over a book, whispering, and giggling, the rhyming words dancing between us to entwine the story around us.
it was magic. i am so grateful for that moment.
i got back into my car in new, renewed spirits.
this job isn't about the list of possible budget cuts sent to us today by the superintendent. it's not about the report cards and progress reports we're all desperately finishing up. it's not about the brilliant, perfect lessons. it's not about immaculate classrooms, expert teaching strategies, making ayp, or how much we can teach in a few weeks. it's not about us. it's about the children. it's about giving them the gift of reading, the gift of loving reading, the gift that knowing they are important, special people who belong here in this world.
the sisters may not remember our shared reading experience in a year, but it is a moment i will carry with me for a long time- the reaffirmation that i really do have the best job in the world.