Wednesday, June 2, 2010

to be loved

This morning My Smart Cookie finished her state testing and looked around the counselor's office where we were stationed. Seeing the "How do you feel today?" posters on the wall she stood up and pointed.

"I'm these three!" she said confidently, pointing to the Loved, Silly, and Happy faces.

"I'm loved because, well, you love me." she stated, matter of factly.

4 years ago My Smart Cookie was in my first grade classroom. We had our moments- some good, some not so good- sometimes her fault, sometimes mine. She gave me a run for my money, but through whatever happened I kept focusing on the child underneath. (For classic Smart-Cookie antics click on the 'My Smart Cookie' tag below.) Whatever happens, I told myself through all those antics, I will let this girl know she is important & that she belongs in our classroom.

Once our class ended I worked on keeping in touch, sometimes just by saying hi in the hallway, sometimes notes if I heard she did something well, sometimes she came to Friday morning book club, sometimes I would check in with her to see how everything was going. Once she hit a testing grade I was assigned to her to administer all important standardized tests one-on-one- which meant we had sporadic hours here and there throughout the year to chat before and after she took a standardized assessment.

She's not always easy to love. She's told me I have bad breath before. She's told me horrid stories about her fights with her sister. She's shared totally inappropriate thoughts. But underneath it all is the awesome girl with a wicked sense of humor- the super creative child who one day will show us the brilliance inside her. 4 years of listening to her, reminding her she's smart, laughing at her jokes, reminding her to use good social skills, and... just listening to her- and now I know, she's heard me. She got the message. If nothing else, she knows she's important.

Knowing someone believes in you- that's everything. I've had an odd feeling of success all today. She might not be following other social norms, but now I know that she knows she is loved. That's got to count for something.

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