Friday, March 8, 2013

Fairy Wings

"Your word is TREBLE," I enunciated as clearly as I could. "TREBLE."

The tiny girl with the fuchsia bow perched atop hair the color of nutmeg pensively stood with the tip of her finger in her mouth. The audience sat attentively in fold down bleachers in the ancient, high-ceilinged gym.

"Um, could you pwease use it in a sent-tence?" she asked shyly, wiping her finger on her floral dress.

I read the sentence from my spelling bee pronouncer's list. The two judges next to me waited.

"T...AWW...E...B...B...E...L," she spelled into the microphone.

The judges' bell dinged, signifying a misspell. She sighed, put her head down and headed to the seats with the eliminated spellers.

I gave her a little smile as she passed our table, whispering, "Good try! ",  although I don't think she heard it.

This was the Baby Bee for children in first through fourth grades and immediately followed the very competitive bee for the older students. But my mind was far from spelling bees that day. I had a community wide 5K run the next morning I was in charge of, a grant proposal I needed to finish writing, and I was still a little shaken from the first ever car accident I'd been in the day before in my two week old car. To boot, I had a meeting and a play practice that night. It felt like a stormy little cloud had suspended itself over my head the whole week.

Still, I felt for this petite first grader. I didn't know her name, but since we are a small district and share one cafeteria, I'd seen her at various times with her class, sometimes wearing a wispy, wee set of fairy wings on her back.

The Baby Bee ended and parents and students thronged around the winner and runner up. I gathered my materials from my table and felt a timid tug on my sleeve. The Treble girl stood at my side. Her chin quivered even as her eyes welled with tears.

"I know how to spell it, weally, I do!" she pleaded.

I knelt down to speak to her face to face. "Oh, honey, I know you do. You did very well today. I'm so proud of you because you made it all the way to the finals!"

"I just fowgot this time. I studied it and I know it, but I just messed up," she said urgently.

I pulled a Kleenex from my purse and dabbed her cheeks.

"Would you like to spell it for me, right now?"

A smile creased her face for the first time. She nodded furiously. She moved back in front of my table and I moved back into my chair. I cleared my throat. "Your word is TREBLE. TREBLE."

I smiled at her and nodded my head. She picked up the cue.

"T...AWW...E...B...L...E...Tweble," she recited.

I clapped my hands and congratulated her. She smiled and clenched her fists over her head. She skipped to the doors to join her class, but stopped, spoke something to her teacher, and headed back to me.

Her finger hooked in the corner of her mouth as I knelt down again.

"Um, I have faiwy wings I like to put on sometimes."

I nodded. "I've seen you wearing them. They are beautiful."

"My mom says only special people can have faiwy wings. They have to be good and kind to weaw them."

She smiled shyly. " I want to ask my mom if I can bwing them because I want you to weaw them."

As so often happens when guileless kindness is given to me, a knot of emotion filled my throat.

She leaned her head in close. "But you have to give them back to me at the end of the day. They awe the only ones I have."

Although I hadn't thought of it before, fairy wings are the perfect tonic.

And I'm going to find a way to strap them on.

Wishing you all some fairy wings today, my friends~







90 comments:

  1. What a sweet story, Shelly. I can see how this precious little girl would have touched your heart so much. I am sure you will wear her fairy wings with dignity, grace and honor when given the opportunity to!

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Betty: Even if I have to tape them on, I am going to. She was precious, and it made me feel so much better~

      Delete
  2. awwww!!! She's so blessed you were there! Love how you wrote how she talks, made the story even more real to us!

    (Now did we hear about this accident?) You can't just spring that upon us with no explanation you know!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jamie: She is adorable, and it was such fun listening to all of them spell. My poor car- I've only had it a few weeks, but it could have been much worse, so I'm thankful.

      Delete
    2. Your car? What about YOU? I'm Thankful you are OK,(I'm assuming!)

      Delete
    3. Jamie: Oh, thank you! Yes, I'm OK- just some residual soreness in my neck, but all is well, and I'm thankful for that (and for you!).

      Delete
  3. You should wear fairy wings for composing these consistently inspiring posts, dear Shelly. I always leave here laughing or crying (or both) and thinking and feeling. That's great blogging! You were having a hellish week. You had a lot on your plate. Yet, the connection you made with that little girl, the love and encouragement you gave her, served you as well as her. It only takes a second to make somebody's day or maybe their whole life. Thank you, dear friend, for another superb offering!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shady: Oh, she made my day! And you did, too, with your very kind words. You are so right- kindness, like she showed me, only takes a little bit, but pays off vast dividends. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Delete
  4. Aww, that's so sweet!

    I can relate to the spelling bee - I mispelled the word, "pizza," for the school spelling bee. I felt awful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sherry: I still remember apparent, because it cost me the bee in 5th grade. They're still nerve wracking!

      Delete
  5. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness that is too much sweet and good in one spot. My teeth hurt!! You're such a doll!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Therese: Ha! It was the one shining moment in this week that has been filled with so much junk.

      Delete
  6. And right now I'm wishing furiously that a small someone would deem me worthy of their fairy wings for a day! Congratulations - that is no small deal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. karen: Her teacher said she loans them to no one, so I really do feel very honored.

      Delete
  7. Oh, what a sweet and kind little girl ... much like yourself. What a beautiful moment. I hope your weekend goes well, and sorry to hear about your accident. Thank you for this lovely story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. jenny_o: She really melted my bad stress mood away. It left me with a big smile~ and thank you for your good wishes. I hope weekend is terrific, as well!

      Delete
  8. Oh Shelley - you are a sweet fairy princess!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sandie: :) I don't know about me, but that little girl surely is-

      Delete
  9. Shelly! Your new red car? I'm so glad you are okay, but what a bummer!

    I was the best speller in elementary school, but couldn't spell words in my head, only on paper. No spelling bee trophies for me.

    That sweet fairy, with her adorable pronunciation and her kind offering, made my day. Please take a picture of you in her wings! Thank you for finding time in your hectic week to share this magical story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amy: Yes! And I'm still sick about it. It is fixable, but oh, what an ordeal.

      She was truly just the tonic I needed to feel better. If I can somehow pin them on my back, I will take a pic and post!

      Delete
  10. What a beautiful, sweet post. It's worthy of you.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
  11. Awww. Bless her sweet little heart. Bless you for encouraging her. That is pretty amazing to me that a first grader can spell treble. About a hundred years ago, when I was in first grade, I don't remember words any longer than run, Dick, run. Or see Spot play.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nonnie: It was incredible the four and five syllable words they were spelling in the last round. Wow!

      Delete
  12. What a beautiful story. That little girl sounds adorable, and what an honour to be able to wear those fairy wings! I love how you took the time to let her spell the word again, even though you had so much going on. I'm sure your job must be very stressful at times, but little interludes like this really must make it so worthwhile.. hope you are keeping well. Lovely to see yiu here today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thisisme: So good to "see" you, my friend! You know, somehow this little girl reminds me of your Ruby. She was truly a sweetheart who made my day~

      Delete
  13. Oh you had me crying with this one. She is such a gift herself. A sweet gift with a big heart just like you. B

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Buttons: That is exactly what I considered her act, too - a precious gift, and one I think I will always remember.

      Delete
  14. What a lovely gift you gave each other! I'd like to see you in those wings; you really are an angel on earth the way you care about children. I'm sorry about your accident and your pretty car. I hope it and you will be as good as new.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Belle: They are small wings and she really is a small girl, so I hope I can find some way to attach them! The car is fixable and I have just a little residual soreness left, so all is well. Thank you, my friend!

      Delete
  15. That's so adorable and what a special teacher you are!!! One of the elementary students asked his teacher for a extra credit spelling word. She gave him Mississippi. When he turned in his paper it was spelled, "Miss Sippy"

    Gotta love em'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Saimi: Oh, that is hilarious! Well, he gave her what she asked for~

      Delete
  16. I love this post. You are an awesome writer and the more time passes, I see you are also an awesome person...

    I love to see little kids that are full of wonder, imagination and self esteem. It really does suck that life and other kids bully, embarrass and generally ruin it for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pat: I just wish there was a surefire way to preserve that wonder, imagination, and self esteem. We'd be a much better world for it if we kept it throughout our lives. And thank you for your kind words!

      Delete
  17. I love the way your write Shelly. You put me there.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Awww... I weawy need this stowy, Shelly. It's positively precious.

    I'm so sorry about your car accident, though, sis. Prayers for you this weekend. And faiwy wings.

    Kelley~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kelley: Ha! And thank you so much for the prayers and the kind words, my friend!

      Delete
  19. Dearest Shelly,

    Oh, "spelling bee"! This was the first time to be able to feel the occasion to myself. How precious and sweet this girl is♡♡♡ She has the heart to feel your kindness and felt really grateful. You had a lot in your mind so I can guess how the little girl's offer touched your sweet heart, my friend.
    I truly wish we all have the pure mind like her even become adults.

    Thank you very much for the wonderful time before going to bed. And I felt relieved to read your injury is not a serious one from your reply to your friend. Take Care of Yourselves(*^_^*)

    Sending you lots of love and hugs from Japan and wish I am the right person for the fairy wing, xoxo Miyako*




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miyako: She truly was so sweet, and it was just what I needed to perk me up, my dear friend! You are so right- if we could only keep that childlike purity and sense of wonder about us as we become adults, our world would be much better and happier. I hope your weekend is wonderful!

      Delete
  20. Hi Shelly, may that little black cloud go bother someone more deserving for a while! The magic of that sweet child's gift is priceless. I'm so glad you are okay from your accident and I'm incredibly inspired by your leadership of a community wide run. In all the busy activity, you find the moments that create peace in the heart, then take time to share them with all of us. How beautiful humanity becomes through your artful weaving.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenny: Your words are always so kind, my friend! Thank you! The run turned out to be a blast and many people pitched in to help. There really is so much good out there (including you!), and I'm thankful this little girl was there to remind me of it.

      Delete
  21. What a great story. I wore fairy wings all day last Halloween and I found myself skipping everywhere I went. They do inspire!

    I thought you taught 7th grade? How many grades are in your school? I'm glad you were there for her!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nancy: I might just have to start wearing them more often, if my husband and teenager don't mind!

      Yes, I still teach in the middle school, but I was the caller for both bees. We have PK- 8th grade in our school- one of the advantages of being a small district. She's a sweetie, for sure!

      Delete
  22. What a lovely story so beautifully told. Fairy winged treble girl is such a cutie. Sorry to hear about your car accident.

    xx Jazzy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jazzygal: Thank you- she is a real sweetie, and I guess the accident could have been worse. Still, I don't ever want to have another one!

      Delete
  23. Aww, little lisp. My daughter spent a fair amount of time in fairy wings when she was little.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Theresa: They are a wonderful accessory~

      Delete
    2. Yes, they are. And when my son was a preschool, he wore bee wings.

      Delete
    3. Theresa: Bee wings! I should wear those the next time I call a spelling bee~

      Delete
  24. Oh I would get all chocked up as well it is a special treat to be allowed to wear someone elses fairy wings........

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jo-Anne: I did feel so honored. She was so very kind~

      Delete
  25. I think you deserve your own set of Fairy Wings! You are a most kind and loving teacher, friend and all around Good Fairy Citizen of the world!
    Hugs~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sush: I am delighted to be counted in amongst the Fairy Folk! Hugs, my friend!

      Delete
  26. Oh, how touching is that? I have a lump in my throat now, what a sweet tale. And well done, you, for still taking the time to offer soothing encouragement to a little kid's ruffled feelings, DESPITE the overwhelming week you yourself were wading through.. if only all our children had teachers like you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shrinky: Oh, she so made my day. The hardest of all was that happening to my new car, but things could be worse and I got to meet the delightful fairy girl, to boot. Thank you my friend, and I hope you wear some fairy wings yourself!

      Delete
  27. Aw, what a cute story! You are so kind to go out of your way to be encouraging. Kids really need that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lydia: Her kindness really brightened things for me that day, and I'm always going to smile when I see fairy wings now~

      Delete
  28. Replies
    1. Missed Periods: Oh, she is, truly!

      Delete
  29. Be still my heart...dry my tears away...this post was as magical as the wings of the fairy!!! For chance, those fleeting moments of her innocence and youth made you forget your worrisome, busy day ahead!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hootin Anni: She and her little fairy wings certainly did take my mind off those other stressful things, and I was most thankful for it~

      Delete
  30. How beautiful.

    My son didn't say his "awww"s until a brief bout of speech therapy in kindergarten. This touched me...

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pearl: I love the "awwless" talk, and always will.

      Delete
  31. I love this. I love kids and this is so touching. You are lucky to get "Fairy Wings".
    I hope that the accident did not cause anything serious. Please take care of yourself as after any auto accidents any thing can show up even as late as a weak or so.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Munir: Thank you, my friend. Just some residual soreness in my neck and shoulders, but all is well. Thank you for your kind words~

      Delete
  32. Aww,this story reminded me of my five year old, cute.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Julie: That age is so cute- and she definitely lifted my spirits~

      Delete
  33. Are you OK from the accident? Everyone else near and dear OK? Car accidents are scary. You're lucky this is your first--I've been in three and was the driver in only one of them! (My dad and my husband were the drivers in the other two, and all three accidents involved either snow or a rainstorm.) God bless and keep you, my friend.

    As for the munchkin in the spelling bee, how adorable. I applaud you for the way you handled her disappointment and let her spell the word over again in private. A kind, encouraging teacher can make a huge impact on a child. She may remember this interaction for the rest of her life, Miss Shelly. ;-)

    Be well...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Janette: Thank you so much. Yes, I am OK, just some residual soreness in my neck that I thought would be gone by now, but intact. The other lady was fine, although my car is not, but it is fixable. Awaiting adjustor's estimate now.

      And that little girl so lifted my spirits. She may not remember it, because she's so young, but I will.

      Thank you, my friend!

      Delete
  34. oh to be childlike...and not childish!
    what a beautiful story.
    wishing you fairy wings for a week!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Annmarie: Ahh, thank you, my friend!

      Delete
  35. Wishing you happy flying - and beautiful fairy wings! You are the best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marsha: I think I'm always going to have a place in my heart now for fairy wings~

      Delete
  36. so perfectly innocent and wonderful! I have tears in my eyes reading this! How can children be so very touching?!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roshni: They are an absolute treasure!

      Delete
  37. Aw Shelley, that was so beautiful.. What a sweet child and I am so glad you let her spell it again. One day her pronunciation will help her to spell it correctly, but your acceptance of her now, will remain as a happy memory.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crystal Mary: She really lifted my spirits, and I'm so thankful for it!

      Delete
  38. Dear Shelly, this story of a child's innocence and an adult's graciousness so reminds me of the story of Moses before the burning bush. He had to take off his shoes because he stood on holy ground. And that child is holy in every sense of the world and you took off your shoes of being the adult who knows how to spell that curious word and you opened your heart and your mind and your arms to her.

    And the wings are for me the halo that Christians use to show the holiness of others. The halo that surrounded the scene of you and that little first-grader who confided to you that she wore wings because of what her mother, in her love, told her. And so I see a scene in the gym at your school with you and this lovely child in the midst of light and it is a scene painted by Giotto who is famous for his painting of the Angel Gabriel visiting the maiden called Marie. Peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dee: Your comment brought a lump to my throat. Your words are beautiful, and left a glorious imprint on my heart. Thank you, thank you!

      Delete
  39. How delicate children are and how good a teacher you are.

    ~Lorna
    _______________________________________


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lorna: It was a true delight to me!

      Delete
  40. I couldn't resist! I featured this one too: http://www.indianamericanmom.com/2013/05/blog-post-features-25.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roshni: You are so sweet- thank you!

      Delete

I love to hear from you! I also love to comment back.