This is part of a story that started Tuesday - please start from the beginning here and scroll up, thanks.
Sometimes I would wonder how his mother could send him to school in an obviously not washed uniform and with no lunch. I would ask myself how she could not know he was coming to school hungry because he had eaten no breakfast and brought no lunch. The cafeteria ladies let him "swing by" every morning for a snack and he was not asked for a ticket in the lunch line. I would remind myself she was probably doing the best she could as a single working mother with 2 sons and she did go through the effort of getting him into this "better" school and I comforted myself with that.
Still, at times, I wondered what his home life was like. I had 36 children in my classroom so letting my mind wander about Max was a luxury time did not often afford. To make myself feel better, I paid the dues and bought him a uniform so he could join boy scouts. I secretly bought Max a new bike when his was stolen. I asked him to "look out for Daniel" (the smallest boy in class) on the playground. You know what? He did. He really did. I didn't have much more trouble with him than some of the other students and I felt perhaps I was making a difference in Max's life. Still, he rarely spoke.
"Happy Birthday" he said and walked away.
"What could possibly be in here?" I thought as I opened up that wad of tissue.
The final part of this story will post tomorrow. I'm finally going to open that tissue I promise!