At recess today I sat on the worn bench as my students fanned out over the 100 Acre Woods and the playground to enjoy their well deserved playtime. It's a stunning day here in North Carolina. The sky is that perfect Carolina blue, the sun is shining gently and a cool breeze glides across your face. I leaned back to watch the kids, laughing to myself over the intense competition at the tetherball pole. Personally, I can't get into the whole tetherball thing, but my kids are crazy about it. So much that I occasionally have to impose a break from the sport so that their bruised arms and wrists can recover.
Today, there was the usual line of my students by the pole, waiting one by one to face the latest victor. Soon the kindergarten, first and second grade classes joined my fourth graders outside. Children swarmed like ants over the climbing structure and the swings, and new teammates were added to the games of touch football. I chuckled as several very serious first graders rushed to the tetherball pole shouting "Yessssss!" as they jumped into the waiting line.
Audrey was perched atop the section of the climbing structure nearest to the tetherball game. Her petite frame stretched across the ropes and her chin rested on top of the teal support bar as she peacefully surveyed all the chaos below her. Just then her younger sister Madeline, a second grader, raced past where Audrey was stationed, heading for the 100 Acre Woods to join her buddies. "Hi Madeline! Madeline!" Audrey called and immediately, upon hearing her sister's voice, Madeline turned and made a beeline back to her. Audrey quickly left her perch and made her way to the ground where she and Madeline wrapped their arms around each other in a huge bear hug. A final loving smile and then they parted, Audrey back to her perch and Madeline off to the woods.
"For there is no friend like a sister in calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way, to fetch one if one goes astray,
to lift one if one totters down, to strengthen whilst one stands."
~ Christina Rosetti