The day back from winter break.
Children move around the hallways and classrooms exchanging their holiday news: where they had traveled, what gifts they had received, whom they had seen.
The air is punctuated with laughter, squeals of delight and disbelief.
Winter break, it seems, was a happy time.
But, under that exuberant happiness, there flutters an undercurrent of sorrow. I see this in averted glances, downcast expressions, a quiet disengagement.
These are children who may have shuttled between two homes for the holidays, or perhaps didn’t get to see one parent at all.
These are the children whose holidays were filled less with cheer than with worry: money worry, sickness worry, family worry.
But, in all honesty, these are the children I most love seeing again – the ones I open my arms wider to embrace, the ones I open my heart wider to find patience, the ones I lean in closer to listen to. The holidays can be sad and lonesome times…back to school routines is a relief.
And yes, tomorrow will be a better day.