Today we took a field trip to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. I hadn't heard about the trip until I arrived and met the 15 kids who would ride on the big yellow school bus.
I sat with Semiyah in front of two brothers I'd not seen before.
The older boy, a four-year-old, wanted to talk. "T" was a polite kid. Instead of shouting or trying to interrupt to get my attention, he'd say "Excuse me..."
He told me that last night his mother had gone to the store and didn't come back. He went into her bedroom, and she wasn't there.
Some of his account was confusing and involved his grandmother, who he said didn't love him and didn't believe him. The grandmother took him someplace — it sounded like Teresa's Terrace, not a place I know about — and T said he went home to spend the night with the teacher there. ("Teacher" is a catch-all term for the trusted adults who work with these kids, me included.)
He seemed disturbed, though not traumatized, that his mother and grandmother didn't care about him.
I talked to him about how sometimes grownups get upset about something — like when they hit their finger with a hammer. They can't hurt the hammer back, so they yell at somebody. But, that somebody didn't do anything wrong, and the grownup isn't really mad at them.
We also talked about how it's my job to protect kids and how you should not run away from your mother, because she loves you and will protect you.
I hope that's true for T.
When we got back to the shelter, I read The Runaway Bunny to him.
I also checked the sign-in sheet. T and his brother had been brought in today by their mother.