Tuesday, August 7, 2012

For the little ones who steal your heart

Everyone knows that teachers, coaches, camp counselors and the like are not supposed to have favorites. But anyone who has ever been in that role knows it's impossible to avoid. A poem I wrote about a little girl who used to be in one of my gymnastics classes.

I want to go over there. To the balance beam? No.
Tell me the name, I don't know what you mean.
Over there. (As if this makes it all clear.)
Pick me up, and I will point to where we go.

I can no more leave you there,
 with your arms stretched up to me and your hair in your face,
than I could truly scold you
for the countless mischiefs you get into.

We are not to nickname our students,
but sometimes I slip and call you Monkey
as you scramble on and all over everything.
Do you even know you could get hurt,
or do you just trust that I won't let that happen?

It is a heavy burden, that trust,
and makes light the weight of this little one who,
climbing into my arms,
has climbed, too, into my heart.

Me with another little gymnast
(my cousin, now in middle school!)

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