Meet the teacher night is almost over.
The now too-tall stack of crayon boxes teeters dangerously. Kleenex Box Mountain dwarfs the desk. The hand-shaking, smiling, sizing-up session is just about over when the twins from my first year stick their heads in the door.
The girl throws her arms around me without hesitation. But her brother hangs back until I ask “are you still at the hugging age?”
“Oh yes ma’am, always.”
I remember a day when we’d drawn swords, faced off. He went to the next class angry. But later, a fire drill sent us bumping into the same hall.
I patted his shoulder, whispered “you’re still my favorite.”
He had tried to play it off saying, “everyone’s your favorite.”
But his voice broke, tears came, and he threw his arms around me, repeating “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.”
“Me, too,” I said, as the fierce relief of forgiveness welled up in my throat. “I’m sorry I let you leave mad.”
This night, three years later, we talk about books and band and middle school.
“We still talk about your class all the time, about how much fun we had in here,” his twin sister says.
Then the principal is on the loudspeaker thanking everyone for coming, their mom calling for them down the hall.
“You’re still my favorites,” I tell them, as they’re running out the door.
He calls back over his shoulder…
“Everyone’s your favorite.”