A Hand in
A Hand in
A Hand makes the chain of human help begin. My simple true story blog experiences from the mentally ill children link society to the importance of social services.
My "hand" narrative began with Katy. I met Katy through the fibrous dark panel of a hospital drawer. Most children in my classroom had slipped through society's cracks. But this little girl had disappeared into a "black hole" in the back of her hospital trundle bed drawer and wouldn't come out. The nurse had asked for my help, although, I had never met this fragile child.
I crouched next to the drawer. Katy peered fearfully from her encampment. As if possessed, I began coaxingly cooing in a singsong voice:
Katy, Katy, come to me.
In my school it's safe with me.
Katy, Katy, come and see
All the nice things for you and me.
I extended my hand without a word. The disheveled back of Katy's head appeared as she scuffled forward in the drawer. Her little body tumbled from beneath the bed. She reached for my hand with a shiver. Quietly and silently Katy, the nurse, and I walked hand in hand to my classroom contemplating our separate fears and apprehensions.
My own nightmare and connection to this fragile, blonde (and later bouncy and gregarious) raped first grader began the long walk; a hand in, a hand in, a hand to the classroom of hope.
Katy asked for help in writing her name so I placed my hand over hers to guide the pencil. She bit my hand. I recoiled, stifled an utterance of pain, and grimaced at the sight of blood. I offered my hand again, only, this time with my palm up as if inviting her to dance. Often, it neutralized a situation if I could defy using usual human reactions that children expected.
Biting usually was not cause for alarm for the hospital staff. Nor was it for me until the nurse popped her head into my classroom saying, "We haven't checked Katy for HIV, yet. There's some history. I will let you know." Click, the door closed. In those three seconds my pulse rate and perceptions changed.
The hospital staff and I had a deep compassion and drive to change these sick children's lives, especially those who were demoralized in their struggles. I, figuratively, grasp your hands with hope for the New Year that
A hand in
A hand in
A hand we will take joy in the small and big changes for the children of 2018.
Happy New Year!
Kaye is a teacher and author of multiple works including Valerie Valentine Visits Vincent Vampire