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In single file, by teacher’s orders, we watched the kids walk from the building scanning the line of vehicles for their parents. I saw a little boy laugh from his toes and a little girl skip enthusiastically. I saw children in conversation not wanting the school day to end, but when I looked for my own I didn’t see her. Instead I saw the wind grab a yellow folder from an open book bag, tossing it to the ground threatening to run away with the papers inside. I saw the student keep walking oblivious Mother Nature just stole his schoolwork and I saw another child stop to pick up the folder. I watched her fall behind to gather the loose papers before running to catch up returning them to their owner.

I saw her, my child.

She climbed in our car with stories from the day and once her mother and I mentioned her good deed, she quickly changed the topic. Her cheeks flushed, she hid a smile, not wanting to acknowledge or draw attention to her actions. She preferred to work in the shadows, unseen, like a modern day super hero wearing kindness as a cape, flying loose behind her making a friend out of the wind instead of a foe. The stark contrast of that time she shoved someone on the playground moved from a mental category labeled Mistake to another labeled Lessons Learned, filed away as a reference point instead of a reminder.

They grow up fast. Cliché, but true.

There's a journal that sits on her bedroom desk, hand delivered from Santa himself several weeks back, that she uses as her sketchbook. Inside are drawings of people and animals and dresses that she draws with crayons or markers or her pink feather pen when she feels inspired to. Pages bound together and sandwiched between a white cover front and back with gold script that she traces with her fingers. I say the phrase every time I catch her and she repeats it after me. Sometimes we discuss it. Sometimes we don't, allowing the sentiment to fill the silence instead. In either case, I see the light in her eyes and the smile in the corners of her mouth and I hear the words echo between each heartbeat.

Kindness. Throw it around like confetti.


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