When our school behavior tech walked into my classroom carrying a beautiful poinsettia, I knew immediately who it was from. As I began to share the story with my students, tears welled up in my eyes.
Before I became the music teacher, I taught special education. These flowers were from the family of one of my former students. Even though I’m not his teacher anymore, his grandmother continues to bring me this lovely gift each year. The tag reads, “We love you, Mrs. Morris.” From “The Brody Bunch.”
My student’s name was Brody. The first year I taught special education, he was in my class. Brody is a funny boy. He has his very own sing-song language. Listen closely and he will let you know if he’s happy, sad, playful or upset. Although understanding his language takes practice, it is worth the effort.
Brody has autism. Our first year together as teacher and student, I had more questions than answers. His family was helpful and gracious as I navigated my new job. Somehow Brody and I connected. He would look directly into my eyes, often a difficult task for individuals who have autism. It seemed as though he was peering right into my soul, understanding much more of me than I understood of him.
Brody’s grandma, know as Meece, was sweet from the beginning. Meece brought Brody to school almost every day, walking him to my classroom. Her morning greetings always started our day on a positive note. Then she and Gramps would pick him up in the afternoons. Brody and I enjoyed a daily afternoon walk to meet them in the parking lot after school.
Although I’d communicated with Brody’s mom and Meece, it had been several years since I last saw him. Last year while visiting another former student at a different school, I heard a familiar song. It was Brody! Looking all grown up and much taller, but the same Brody.
Not sure if he’d remember me, I walked over to say hello. His approach was cautious, his look at first puzzled. But then he grabbed my hand and looked me directly in the eyes. That same look I’d seen many times before. Yes, he knew me.
The delivery of this beautiful red and green poinsettia not only added some holiday cheer to my messy desk, but it also brought a flood of memories. Memories of both the challenges and joys of those first teaching experiences. Memories of the challenges Brody faced and continues to face.
Memories of one precious student and his amazing family-The Brody Bunch.