It's been a long while since I've cried at work because of grief. (I won't go into how many times I've cried because of school stuff....) A few times last year, it happened in front of the kids, and gratefully the kids that saw it were the ones who knew.
Wednesday was math test time for my newcomer boys. I was towards the end of the test when I looked down at the story problem I was about to read out loud.
"N*st*r picked 12 flowers for his mom...."
My throat immediately tightened. I felt my entire body freeze up. I went into something between a panic and paralyzation. I tried to substitute a different name.
I couldn't get it out. And then the sobs came. And the great big tear drops. I began reliving being a mom. My interactions with N. So sad that things didn't turn out differently. They would have been here and would have been coming home from school that day instead of me going to school. We'd be preparing to go to grandparents' houses.
And then my little student spoke.
"It's ok. You can take a minute."
And that was all he said. I turned and walked to get a box of tissues and the sobs subsided. The boys never acted uncomfortable that I was crying; they've experienced deep hurt and trauma in their lives. They just plain get it.
Vaya con Dios, mijos....