religions, and perspectives. I accepted the invitation to interact
with and get to know a diverse group of people.
A particular overnight field trip comes to mind. The
excitement had been palpable in our home for well over a
week. Our girl, who goes through life with most of her
emotions on the inside, had been visibly joyous with
anticipation for this rite of passage, an end of elementary days
journey to Washington DC. Her dad and I took delight in the
expressions of pleasure and anticipation as the day of departure
approached. We all held our breath as the never ending North
Carolina winter dumped freezing rain and cancelled school a
mere twenty-four hours ahead of take off time. Our daughter
took great care as she placed each carefully chosen item into a
small suitcase and backpack.
After a 5 am wake up, a little breakfast, and a last bit of
shared contagious excitement, we headed to the school. After
unloading our luggage, we claimed our spots on the big bus.
Knowing that we were facing several hours of sitting, I got out
and walked around. I headed to the restroom and was warmly
greeted with a beautiful smile and a hug. Melissa pronounced
Ma-lee-sa was one of the children in my book buddy group
a few years back. We had a special bond. Over time and as we
read books together each week, she shared some intimate
details of her family’s life and story as Mexican immigrants. On
the morning of the field trip, as we chatted about the exciting
days ahead, she said, “My dad is crying. It is hard for him to
say goodbye.” I hugged her and then walked back toward the
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