I am sitting out on the front porch swing in my swishy skirt sipping iced tea and enjoying the comfort of the sun on my face. The wind is blasting leaves off the trees and making the flowers whip against the pickets of the fence. Squirrels dart back and forth across the street. I wonder what's so pressing on the other side that they risk life and limb every ten minutes? The dog stretches out beneath me, eyes half-mast against the late afternoon brightness. I can smell the squash that is baking in my oven through the open window.
I am thinking about my sweet students, how different they all are from each other--sort of like the flowers in my garden. I appreciate the diversity of the youngsters I see every day and find them endearing in a thousand separate ways. There are the gregarious charmers who have a hard time containing their social inclinations--ones who like to catch my eye at odd moments in the day, and never miss the nuances of subtle humor. There are the shy ones, who just like to stand by me and wait to be noticed. Sometimes they'll be overcome with boldness and reach for my hand. I never let go first. I love their gap-toothed smiles, sprinklings of freckles on sunburned cheeks, fuzzy new crew cuts, shining braces. Best of all are their eyes: Green eyes, gray eyes, blue eyes, brown eyes, eyes that vary based on what they are wearing, eyes fringed with lavish lashes, eyes filled with wonder and innocence. They stand close to show me their drawings, their owies, painted fingernails, and loose teeth. I get to read with them, help them with number patterns, untie knots in their shoelaces, listen to them recite memory work. Every Monday morning our school has chapel and I find myself towering over them--like a sunflower in a wheat field--worshiping among the little guys and gals. There is nothing like being surrounded by a hundred children belting out praises to God. He must smile. I know I do.
I'm so thankful for the color and the texture children bring to my life.