Dear Little One,

Dear Little One,

Today I sat down next to you to see how your writing was going.  You were writing a letter to a friend.  You winked at me and told me you’d put one in my mailbox, too.  Actually, you haven’t learned how to wink yet, but you blinked with purpose and I got your drift.

You stopped writing for a moment, cupped my face with both of your hands and said, “I just love you, Mrs. McCauley.”  And then you hugged my neck.  You smiled and I saw the window where you’d lost your first tooth.  I hugged you and left you to finish your letter.

After school I had to deal with an angry parent.  And then I had to deal with a student who is being untrustworthy.  I left school drained of all joy.

And then I thought of you.

I thought of your little smile, your little hands, and your big heart.  You are the reason I teach, little one.  Thank you for reminding me.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll teach you how to wink.


Mrs. McCauley

Goodbye, White

Labor Day is here, banishing white pants to the back of the closet for another season.  Well, I don’t own any white pants, ’cause my bottom half just doesn’t need that level of attention, so instead I’m writing about other white things that have come and gone.

Goodbye white lace on the baby pillow my mom stitched for me.  I loved you until you were dirty tatters framing the yellow gingham,  Come to think of it, goodbye white stuffing that filled the pillow and in the end came out in puffy lumps through the hole where I loved that pillow too thin.

Goodbye white stephanotis corsage that I wore to a junior prom.  You were so much more beautiful than the red roses all the other girls wore.  Good riddance to the boy that gave me that corsage and didn’t ever talk to me again because I wouldn’t smoke a joint and sleep with him.  Wait, not even good riddance to him.  Just riddance.

Goodbye Saturday morning sweetmilks with mounds of snowy powdered sugar spooned in the middle.  This isn’t so much a goodbye as it is a “See you later on a lazy winter morning.”  I will wipe powdered sugar from my lips and remember wiping my mouth on the corner of Grandpa’s “Kiss Me, I’m Norweigan” apron.

Goodbye white seashells washing ashore in the shadows of the pier.  I keep you in a jam jar on my night stand, remembering the day I last kissed my grandmother.  I can’t wait to walk barefoot in the sand and gather more shells for my jar.

Goodbye white wedding dress, all boxed up on the top shelf in my closet.  I take you down every now and then and blow the dust off the front of the box.  You made me feel like a princess on our wedding day.  You were spotless and new and so was I.  One day I will work up the nerve to free you from your box and wear you around the house.  Until then, wait for me with your satiny train all tucked in.

Goodbye blackberry blossoms, bursting white among the thorns.  It’s time for you to rest, time to pull fall’s burgundy blanket up to your chin as the earth breathes a sigh of relief.  It’s Labor Day and the laboring is done.  For now.