This is the final part of a story that began on Tuesday - please read the posts from the beginning if you are getting here for the first time. Start here and scroll up, thanks.
I carefully opened the wad of tissue - 2nd graders pockets are not the cleanest of places.
This is what I found.
and a baseball card thingy...
a worn and weathered religous medal...
and this little rubber martian fella...
I collapsed in a pool of overwhelming emotions. It was the most generous gift I have ever received.
I was surrounded by dozens of roses and boxes of the best chocolates, gift cards and elegance which I greatly appreciated. Just because people have the money to buy things doesn't mean they have to. Money does not equal generosity and thoughtfullness. So many families took time out of their busy lives to think of me, to go out and make the effort to purchase, wrap and bring me a gift and don't think I didn't appreciate that because I really did. It's just that Max had nothing to give and nobody to help him but he wanted to bring me something. Poor Max thought he had nothing to offer, how wrong he was. He possibly gave almost all he had.
Max waited until everyone was gone to pull out that wad of tissue. I can't stand the thought that he might have been embarrassed at it's lackluster appearance. Still, he found the courage to give it to me, he left the classroom but then turned and came back in. I imagined him looking through his room and collecting these things for me. Were they his treasures? Did he have anything left? Where did he get that shell? Did he have other baseball thingys? Who had given him the medallion and what of the martian? I bawled my freakin' eyes out.
This little collection of things is very special to me and even after all the moves and the major purging when we decided to become more "minimal", they are here. They will always be here with me.
I am certain those children don't remember me. Why would some lady who was their 2nd grade teacher for only a few short months cross the mind of a teenager? I don't know if I will always remember them and truthfully most of their names (though not their faces) escape me now, except Max.
Nope, not Max.
Max I will always remember.
The life I was trying to make a difference in.
I thought I was ready for him.
I was not.