Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree

Fridays were ice cream days. And after lunch every Friday, one class of six year olds came to the library. Jack always, always, had chocolate smeared across his face. Always. He was adorable. Bright, funny, kind, and everything wonderful about the world wrapped up into a six year old package. When I saw him around the school on a day other than Friday, I pretended to have no idea who he was. Because, you know, the chocolate was missing from his face.

“Oh, hello, brand new student! My name is Ms. Higgins, so nice to meet you!”

“Hmmm, I don’t quite remember your name — is it Hugo? Marty? Nelson?”

His giggle was infectious, and his playfulness a joy.

Six year old Nathan only liked his bananas opened from the wrong end. Little monkey.

Six year old Jessica told me she was going to be a hamster when she grew up.

Six year old Mark tried his very best in the spelling bee, and I had to be the one to ring the bell when he got his word wrong.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few days remembering six year olds I’ve known and taught. It’s been a number of years, but the unbridled life in a room full of six year olds is hard to forget.

(This is a favorite book from my days of sharing stories directly with kids, this time of year even. I wrote about it over on Design Mom, and have been cheered by the comments and the warmth around this little gem!)