“What if I stole your shoe, Miss Lola?” Mason asked me, eyes twinkling but almost afraid. His mother, I remembered later, spends more money on her shoes than she does on the whole of her children. “I suppose,” I told him, “that then I would have a very naked foot! And some confused toes.” He smiled lopsidedly and ran off cradling it like a baby.The other children looked around, waited. “Is the shoe really gone?” they whispered. They looked at my foot. “It really is gone.” They waited a second more. “We have to get him!”
This entertained them, to the mystery of the other teachers, for fifteen minutes – which is something, in preschool time. The shoe was finally returned with great ceremony, looking like it was atop a funeral pyre (I did not make the simile aloud).
Before the other teachers could phrase the question the director sprang to my defense. “Don’t question Lola’s methods.” she said without looking up from the attendance sheets. “At the end of the day they’ll scream not to go home. And they’ll do their homework better.”
Sometimes it’s the smallest validations, and I grin like the Cheshire Cat.