The opening of the door interrupts my concentration. Through it strides my high schooler toting an armful of pottery. Chatting away, he places each piece on my desk in front of me, turning it slowly, so I can admire his work from all angles. As I lift each creation for closer inspection, he continues chattering away explaining where he found his inspiration for each piece, the reasoning behind his choice of colors, and what he is pleased and displeased with. Our conversation is easy, and I fall into the rhythm of it.
Without warning, he ends our song, announcing he has to return to class – something about the pieces needing to be graded. He grabs his handiwork and sets out the door leaving me in silence. As I watch him hurry out the door, I see the little boy he once was and am overcome with memories.
I remember the days he arrived at my classroom door, unannounced, with a new friend in tow just so I could meet him and welcome him to our school. He would simply stride into the middle of my lesson cheerfully calling out, “Hi Mom, this is my new friend Tom. I thought you might like to meet him.” Mission accomplished, he would turn on his heels, and head back downstairs to his classroom.
I remember the days he would stomp away from recess and march into my classroom to launch a grievance of some injustice done onto him. A simple word of encouragement was all it took to reassure him and send him back out into the world.
I remember the days he would leave his classroom to join mine because his was boring. Distracting him with a student escort from my class, I gently sent him on his way.
I remember the days he stood at my door with an art portfolio the size of him, struggling to remove the pieces to show me his inner artist – excitedly revealing the story behind each work of art. I held up each piece and admired it from all angles. Our conversation was easy, and I fell into the rhythm of it.
Seventeen years later, he still arrives at my door. He is a senior this year and will be a half a world away from me in a few short months.
I am not ready for our song to be over.
I am not ready to send him out into the world.
I am not ready for my doorway to stand empty.