This one little boy has brown black hair, tawny skin, and liquid brown eyes with a mischievous glint—a heart throb in the making, Dennis the Menace in a darker shade. This one little boy is a perpetual motion machine—up, down, here, there, rolling on the carpet, picking lint, checking his pockets, opening and closing the Velcro on his shoe—riiiip, riiiip, rriiiiiip, not so quietly reading the numbers and the alphabet on the wall…while the rest of the class is singing “The Bear Went Over the Mountain.” This one little boy bounces in with a morning monologue “Hi teacher. I’m here! Look at my new shoes. I brought my folder. Here’s my note”—which his mother did not sign. This one little boy tells the most fantastic, wondrous, unbelievable, incredible stories. “My dad bought an alligator. I held a groundhog and pet it. My dad has one of those”…a Formula One race car, a dune buggy, or a Model T, depending on what storybook we happen to be reading. In the real world Dad shows up every once in a while to take this one little boy for the weekend and one night the boy’s uncle did come to kill the black pig that was biting the white one and “Now we don’t need money for dinner.” This one little boy demands “I need a jacket. My mom can’t buy me a belt. Can you? Is it lunch yet? You skipped me teacher. Can you help me teacher?” This one little boy deflates when the work is too hard (often) and beams when he can do it (a whole body beam). This one little boy, this fighter of a little being against a big, big world, worries me, saddens me, exhausts me, needs me and needs me and needs me and needs me.
Shari Cassutt taught kindergarten for 20 years and has lectured on topics relating to education, parenting, and child development. She is an avid traveler and an excellent cook. She is trying really, really hard to love gardening as her yard is in desperate need of attention. Her work has appeared in Time Out Beijing, Beijing Review, The Santa Fe New Mexican, and Tumbleweeds Newspaper for Santa Fe Families. Shari lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.