Makes Me Sigh, School

Transparent And Unapologetic

Monday morning we were late for school. As usual. We are late almost every day, but thanks to Daylight Savings Time, we were well beyond our usual brand of late.

I walked Sean into his classroom and his classmates were already sitting on the floor working on some group activity.

Marlee, a tiny piquant blonde, looked up and noticed Sean standing there. Marlee is known for her exuberance, her boundless energy, her unabashed joi de vie.

She leapt to her feet, hurdled several of her classmates OJ style and then wrapped Sean up in a big bear hug, lifting him completely off the ground. Clearly, she was happy to see him. Oh that we might all be more like Marlee – transparent and unapologetic with our affection.

Sean did not return her embrace.  He did his best impression of a totem pole, keeping his arms stiffly down by his sides, neither moving his head or his eyes to the right or to the left. When she set him down he kind of pulled at his collar uncomfortably and stuck out his chin as if he were wearing a necktie that was too tight. 

Sean’s reserve did not deter Marlee. She grabbed him by the hand and pulled him into the hive of activity.

I turned to hang up his coat and his backpack and when I turned back to say goodbye, he was already engaged with his peers.  He felt welcomed and wanted here and had no need of his mother now.  He did not notice when I disappeared around the corner.

Thanks Marlee.  You make the world a better place. Don’t ever change.

31 thoughts on “Transparent And Unapologetic

  1. “He did his best impression of a totem pole.” Great line! My son usually reacts that way when any other child at preschool tries to hug him.

    And yes…if we could all be like Marlee this world would be a better place!

  2. My three year old son has a friend at his school like that — she just LOVES to hug him. I’m quite impressed that the boys (Sean and Jet) don’t just shove the girls off!

  3. My oldest WAS Marlee. She is 12 now and the exuberance is a little more subdued around those not in her immediate family, but I still love getting the bear hugs that almost knock me down. I hope Marlee never changes either. We all need people like her in our lives.

  4. I usually have energy to burn, but how could one hour be such a big deal? I’ve been draggin’ my wagon all week. Spring forward? Who feels like springing? And it’s still cold outside to boot. Who’s idea was this anyway??

  5. My E has no idea why someone wouldn’t want one of her knock-you-to-the-floor style hugs. Thanks, Pam, for the encouragement!

  6. My daughter is a Marlee.

    One of my best friends was trying to encourage her son about an upcoming dentist visit, which he was very much not looking forward to.

    “Remember when Natalie was here last week?” she said. “She had just gone to the dentist that morning, and she said she had fun!”

    “Yeah, Mom, but Natalie is excited about EVERYTHING,” he replied.

    He’s only five, but he nailed it.

  7. We could all use a little Marlee couldn’t we? The wonderful enthusiam that sweeps us up and brings us into the circle no matter if we are a little late in showing up. Sounds very Christ like to me.

    Great story.

  8. My son is like a big, bounding puppy, full of affection. I hope life doesn’t train it out of him, because it is a wonderful thing. Great post.

  9. She’ll be one of those women at church that you think is fake at first and then you realize: “Wow. She’s really serious. I love this lady!!” Those of us (ahem) who are more reserved are sometimes uncomfortable with this. To more Marlees in our lives!!

  10. I just found your blog, and loving it! Hilarious. So sweet, We could not only take some lessons from Marlee in exuberance and welcome, but also not to take it personally when others don’t return our type of love. Marlee wasn ‘t put off by Sean’s totem-pole state. Sean wasn’t annoyed at her, I bet, just taking it in Sean-style. I love learning from kids! Thanks for the lesson!!!

  11. I read something about that not too long ago — I used to be what people would call “reserved”, but I read something that basically said, “if you love people, love loud and love big. let there be no mistake that you love them.” So I do. I yell my friends’ names LOUDLY across the room to show I am happy to see them. I’m still not much of a hugger of friends, but the loud I can do! It also embarasses the stuffin’ out of my kids, so that’s a bonus! 🙂

    I love Marlee. We need more of her!

  12. Harry has a Marlee, too. Only his name is Charlie, and he LOVES Harry. He is so openly excited to see Harry come into daycare in the morning, that it makes me want to get down and give HIM big hugs, too.

    Harry takes it about the same way as Sean. But I notice that he gives Charlie a big hug on the way out the door.

  13. Oh – meant to add:

    Our Evangelical minister at our church is a grown-up Marlee. I don’t think they could have chosen a more perfect person for the job.

  14. I just want to add that while Marlee may be a big part of why Sean was so easy to get into the mix; knowing how loved and secure he is at home, that his mama would only take him places that are good (even if sometimes not always fun) and that mama will be back soon, certainly makes the transition much easier.

    I’m just saying that you’re a large part of the reason he falls in easily too, don’t forget that & don’t discredit it.

  15. I love it when kids do this. While I might wonder what was going on with an adult who hugged me like that, I do have to say that a hug can sure go a long way. And smiles too… they do a lot more than we realize, I think. 🙂

  16. To be welcome with open arms? It’s the BEST! I know my girlie-squirrel doesn’t like getting to school late, but when it happens there’s a round of “Oh…Princess is here!” Makes her smile every single time.

  17. Just gotta say how much I enjoy reading your blog. I only do about once a week, but it ALWAYS brings a smile to my face when I do. You really have a gift for writing, and I’m glad you’re willing to share it! I think the story or Marlee is so sweet. I wish I were like that: possessing those same qualities. I hope Sean is alright. I haven’t seen an update, but like I said I don’t read everyday. You truly do brighten my day and remind me to be a better mom! Thanks!

  18. This was an awesome post. I thik you should print it out and anonymously put it in Marlee’s box. Her mom would probably LOVE to read it!

  19. This is an adorable story. And, it makes me feel better to know that I am not the only one that gets kids to school late almost every single day. It is a rare moment when my Jordan gets to listen to the pledge of allegiance in his classroom, rather than outside under the breezeway, half way through the cafeteria, or right outside his classroom door!

  20. I have gained a new appreciation for the enthusiastically friendly people in my life. I am a bit more reserved and in the past have been uncomfortable with their vast enthusiasm and….muchness. However, these energetically friendly people have been the very ones who have made our new girls feel most welcomed.

    Mary, mom to many

  21. what a great story~ i love people like her who make the world a better place just by being them. may every little kid have a Marlee in their lives to make them feel welcome and loved.

  22. I think most folks are afraid of getting a Sean-like reaction, so they refrain from pulling a Marlee. We can all learn something from her!

  23. But when you do hug, AM, you know it’s because you want to. That makes the hug all the more special. Just like it is with Sean.

    I’m so relieved that Sean has finally found a good home to call school. Thank you God for sweet Marlees!

  24. Aw, what a little sweetie. I have a cousin who was very “Marlee” when she was younger. We could all use a little more “Marlee” I think 🙂

  25. So sweet and well captured! You should send this story to her Mom, she would treasure it forever.

  26. I am Marlee’s Nommy, and I just want to let you know how very happy I am are that you have shared a Marlee moment with everyone. I don’t usually talk about this, but Marlee was “being Marlee” before she was born. I was diagnosed with cancer in August, 2003; Marlee was due January, 2004. All of my caregivers from my internist in Tomball to my oncologist at MD Anderson knew of her impending arrival and my “calm” demands that all of my treatments be completed before she was born. I was not going to let “the C” interfere with my participation and joy in the birth of my first grandbaby. So each day of treatment as I lay on the radiation table, wanting to beat the machine with a baseball bat, I simply envisioned Marlee. It worked – she held my hand from beginning to end. One day when she can understand her gift, I want her to know what she did for her Nommy. I am extremely happy to know that she continues her angelic and joyful ways to this day. Thank you for validating what I have known all along – Marlee is a gift.

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