My mother is a kindergarten teacher.
One. Two. Three. Four little faces looking up at me, expectantly. Are you teacher today?
No, I’m a helper. My name is Evan. Are you excited to start this craft project?
The fifth and sixth child joined me at the table. What is it for?
Its a holiday gift for your parents. Here’s how you do it. Ready?
Small hands grabbed for glue and glitter, tissue paper and tin foil. Do you want to be partners?
Kid #7 pulled at my leg and I joined him at the rug with eight, nine other kids. What are you doing?
10 o’clock. Time to go to the library. 11 o’clock. Lunch time yet?
Twelve posters lined the wall of the classroom, one for each month. Thirteen smaller posters, each with two letters, spelled out the alphabet. Fourteen. That date in February was marked by a big red heart. Fifteen, sixteen, seventeen happy faces came streaming into the classroom. Are you in high school mister? How tall are you?
The eighteenth and nineteenth kindergartener came back from the bathroom. OK boys and girls, who’s ready to learn about the number of the day?
I couldn’t stay in that kindergarten classroom. It was all too real, too innocent, too joyful. My mother sent me the following message later:
“It was wonderful seeing you today. I am sorry that you felt awkward. You have always been comfortable around little kids. They don’t know about what occurred in Newtown. They wondered why you left. Well, perhaps another time.”