To See a Rare and Special Thing

I’m a preschool teacher now. It’s not something I ever would have predicted for myself, but here I find me. I have wanted to write about that experience, but sort of wanted it to exist in a world away from adoption—but since it’s just more of my story, that rings a little false. So here I am, preparing to write my present.

I still see Cricket once a year, in November; last year, he mentioned casually that he always likes coming to Queen City, and that meant a lot to me. Otherwise—well. Several years ago, I asked Ruth for no contact on Mother’s Day weekend; I was careful, and polite, but let her know that it is only painful at a time when I wish to celebrate with my two younger boys. She sends me a message on Mother’s Day weekend every year—other than that, the visit and a couple of planning emails beforehand are our only contact.

Joey is eight and a half now, and a sweet, funny kid who is also pretty destructive; he sees no reason to go along with any rules, and his feelings are always completely expressed. He did finally toilet train just before his eighth birthday, which is great; he’s becoming more aggressive with me, but he isn’t bigger than I just yet, so we’re handling it.

Kit is getting ready to start first grade, and intends to be a basketball star. He practices every day, rain or shine, so we’re going to go ahead and put him on a team this fall. He’s really bloomed this year, and it’s been astonishing to see. Kit is actually how I ended up teaching; I volunteered one a day week in his pre-K class to try to help him and his teacher (mixed results: at the beginning of kindergarten, he kept telling his teacher that he was going to destroy her) and loved it so much that I applied for an aide position for his kindergarten year—and loved THAT so much that when the preschool teacher I worked with gave her notice, I applied for and got her job. Bananas. But it turns out to be the thing I didn’t know I was looking for.

Kit has horseback riding lessons on Saturday mornings; Joey looks forward to these as much as his brother does, because it means being allowed my phone the whole time. He invariably watches In The Night Garden, a BBC children’s show that is more completely aimed away from adults than anything else I’ve seen. This weekend he watched the same two-second clip over and over and over for about twenty minutes; this is is not unusual Joey behavior, but it was a clip I haven’t seen him stuck on before. He made the narrator say, dozens of times, “to see a rare and special thing.” And I guess that’s about as apt a description of the best parts of being alive as I have ever seen.