Last week one of my little ones brought in a box and unpacked his most precious things to share with the class.
He sits in front of the class,
Feet dangling, kicking the legs of the chair.
He is never still,
Even in his sitting, there is motion.
Today is his day to bring special things.
He holds a hat box covered in faded denim,
The edges smudged with soot.
This is all I have. It’s one of my only things that didn’t burn.
Ever so carefully he lifts the round lid
He pulls out a blue onesie,
Laying it in his open palm, rocking it back and forth in his arms
This is how my dad used to hold me.
He dangles his hospital bracelet,
Wraps it around two of his fingers,
Can you believe I was ever that little?
Yes, sweet boy, I believe you were once that small.
He lifts out a stack of greeting cards,
Searching through them until he finds the one his grandmother wrote,
Her words welcoming him to the world.
Will you help me read this one? It’s my favorite.
He scoots over on the chair and I sit beside him.
As the first words leave my lips, he ducks his head under my arm and reads.
He knows every word by heart,
Each period a tap of his toes.
He stacks the cards into the box, folds the onesie on top
And tucks the bracelet in the sleeve before replacing the lid.
The box sits atop his desk the rest of the day.
I catch him fingering the fabric, smiling as he lifts the lid every now and again.
I can’t help but think of how we come to the earth with nothing,
And leave with nothing,
Yet we leave with so much more.
In the unpacking of his box, this little boy filled mine.