Thursday, October 29, 2009

...a teary sort of day

Last year Sandra came to my classroom. From rural Mexico, her educational background was not the strongest. She stayed in the "silent stage" of language acquisition for most of the year. Unfortunately, she and the only other girl in the class, Raquel, didn't hit it off. This year, Yesenia was the newcomer, and she and Sandra soon became best friends. (Raquel's sister came up from the middle school, so she isn't alone. In fact, the two sisters seem to prefer being apart from the others, but that's a whole other story.) So Sandra and Yesenia sat together, worked together, and walked arm in arm down the halls together. Yesenia has a strong academic background and was always helping Sandra, who started to bloom. And then...Yesenia dropped the bombshell. Her dad's job here was ending and they were moving to South Carolina to live with an aunt. A new job was promised. Today was Yesenia's last day. The two girls were inseperable, solemn faces, trying without much success not to cry. And I wanted to cry for them. I took their picture together so they will always remember the other's face.

I know what it's like to be the one leaving. Every time Dad got new orders we packed up and said goodbye to neighbors and friends, and started all over again in a new town, a new school. Moving mid-year was the worst. But Yesenia has a bright spirit and I know she will adjust. She's intelligent and kind. She will make new friends.

A few years ago I struck up a conversation with a woman at a conference. She said she grew up in a military town. She knew how it felt to be the one being left. If I could talk to her again I would ask, "How do I help Sandra grieve the loss of her friend?" Sometimes life is just downright hard.

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