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Okay, he is a fidgety boy – eight years old – cute, smart, but he would far rather rap on his desk than sit and listen too long, and far rather rock in his chair than keep it flat on the floor. The classroom ceiling is far more interesting than the blackboard lesson, and his legs almost always want to stretch and jiggle than contort in that “crisscross applesauce” sitting position the teachers prefer.

So, the boy’s assignment, after a long day of second grade sitting, was to use the last half hour of the day to sit some more, and write about something of his choice – called a “free write”. Write? About what? Where was an idea? He was able, had done it many times before. He looked about the room and saw the rest of the class chewing on their erasers, and swinging their legs under their desks, busy writing and erasing and seeming to be inspired, while he chewed on his eraser and ran his pencil through the electric pencil sharpener at least three times, and watched that class clock tick away his writing time.

The teacher was not a little annoyed at the delays, but an idea needed to land or he had nothing. What were the other kids so busy writing about? Video games, and their coming weekend and their past weekend and their pets. Not interesting. He used his pencil to prop up his chin while he thought some more. Then, he leaned toward me with a suddenly sweet and dreamy look on his face. “I know what to write,” he announced. “About the first time I saw a Momma deer and her baby, live.”

I was melting at that. What a lovely, tender, poetic idea to suddenly get. Tears were preparing themselves in my eyes. Wait until his teacher saw what a creative and lovely mind this boy really had!

Sentences scratched on his lined paper with sharpening smudges, and a lovely story about seeing a real mother deer and her baby at the edge of the woods: his first real live deer sighting. It happened while he was sitting in the back seat of his grandmother’s car, and he turned around and watched the scene out the car window, watching the mother deer graze on tender branches. Precious memory to the little boy, very tender moment, and as he told about it with misspelled words and all, I could read the wonder of it all.

Just recalling this sweet boy and his story, fidgets and all, makes me pause and wonder what this one child will add to the world. I hope to know someday. In the world of children, it is often the restless, pencil sharpening, jiggling ones who surprise us with the best.

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