The chairs sat empty.
As I read our special read aloud about families, I sincerely hoped that my students’ family members would join us before I finished. The kids faces lit up as grandpas and dads and uncles and even a mom trickled in.
Cute couplets let their creative side emerge as we shifted into a family portrait craft and writing prompt. A’s grandpa proudly introduced himself as I snapped a photo, the sparkling eyes mirrored in his granddaughter’s. My eyes got a little watery like they always do when I see our beautiful families creating together.
I moved to a sweet heart who was working by herself. D.’s eyes were rimmed with liquid and she was trying bravely to keep her lip from trembling as she cut out her picture. I knelt by her desk and asked her to tell me all about it, praising her creativity and assuring her how proud her Dad would be of the message she wrote. D nodded and resolutely continued her work.
We did not discuss that she was alone. I told her how much he loved her, and let that do the work. It seemed so unfair that events that allow certain students to experience great pride in sharing their learning with loved ones will simultaneously spotlight another’s loss.