Today is the first day of our new summer schedule, my first full day Monday in awhile. I have a group of kids who eat breakfast, walk to the park, and have lunch with me, most of whom have not been in my Tuesday meal group all year. I find them sweet and charming, if somewhat unfamiliar after so much time away.

On the short walk to the nearby park where we’ll find a sprinkler on this very hot day, my nearly five, who was my special gal for years until I went away, and who has been happily in my group again today, says to me, “Maria, I wish I could be a bird.”

It is such a hot, still day, I wonder what has made her think this way, agree I would also like to be a bird, wonder if a bird to her means flying above the world.

“What kind of bird would you like to be?” I ask, and she knows, without hesitation.

“A robin” which makes total sense to me.

I ask the other children if they would like to be a bird. Each one I ask says yes. The older girl, and eight come back to visit two half days this summer, also an old friend who I enjoy reconnecting with throughout the morning, tells us she would like to be a Blue Jay. Again, without hesitation, she knows.

The third child to answer my question, would you like to be a bird? is a three, new to the day care this year, who I have only known on Monday afternoons, when he mostly naps, wakes, snacks, goes outside. He charms me, though, and I’m curious what he’ll want to be. “A turkey!” he says, again with total assurance, and of course, this is the quote I hold onto all day, share later with my co-teacher Alice, and with my teenage son and his gal just before heading up to bed, amazed that this little guy would want to be a turkey, the worst bird ever, in my personal opinion, after we’ve watched two old episodes of Parks and Recreation, and we’ve talked and laughed and worked and eaten together, first time together in awhile. I feel pleased to have a small story to tell that makes us all laugh as hard as anything Leslie Knope says on Parks and Recreation.

I am even so happy to remember my little guy who wishes to be a turkey that I am compelled to write this here for you, even though I thought at the end of last week that I was done writing on this blog. Perhaps I am not. It was lovely to be back in the day care today. I began to remember the feeling I had doing work that suited me and in which I find great pleasure, being in my home and neighborhood with the little people and their caregivers, thinking about what it would be like to be a bird and wondering how to share it with the world so the world can see these small people as not only cute and charming, but worthy of the greatest respect. Perhaps this small world living and sharing is all I’m meant for, changing the world one small park walk and sweet conversation at a time. We’ll see. It’s three days in a row each week with day care kids for me this summer. I’m looking forward both to it and to the changes being back home more regularly will create in me.

Unlike the kids, I didn’t know, and still don’t, what sort of bird I would be if I could be a bird. How about you?

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