One late afternoon after picking up our son Andrew from his school, he sat in the backseat of the car and had this announcement: “Mommy I have a girlfriend.”
I assumed that he meant that he had finally made a friend and she happened to be a girl. I replied “Oh that’s nice honey what’s her name?” Andrew responded “Aloha.” It seemed like an odd name so I repeated “Did you say Aloha?’” “Yes Mommy.” I asked him “Is she from Hawaii?” Andrew said “I don’t know, but she speaks French.” OK, she’s not from Hawaii !
I would later learn that this little girl began school the same time that Andrew began in early October. She is French and lives in a village called Juvignac, just north of their school. She has taken a liking to Andrew. The teacher tells me that Aloha makes sure that she always sits next to Andrew and ensures that he has his share of whatever is being given out in the classroom ex. Crayons, legos, paint etc. She is his little French advocate.
In a conference, which I had with Andrew’s teachers, they were describing some challenging behavior being displayed by Andrew. Aloha somehow doesn’t seem to mind Andrew’s mis -behaving. In fact, her English teacher jokingly said. “She likes the bad boys.” His comment was funny. It would have been much funnier if he wasn’t referring to my kid as the “bad boy.”
At about 4:20, the children are allowed to play in the school’s backyard. Parents arrive at various times between 4:30 – 5:30 to pick up their children. I was retrieving my little boy who – was dressed in his jeans, Old Navy long sleeve tee-shirt topped with his now infamous blue down vest. As I walked down the side of the school building toward the backyard, I could hear the sounds of the children screeching, laughing and jovially speaking in French. When I reached the backyard and was in my son’s full view, he came running to me with a pretty little girl close behind him. As usual, he pounced on me and yelled “Hi Mommy, this is Aloha.” I smiled at the child and said “Hi, I mean… Bon Jour Aloha.” She smiled shyly and said “Hi.” She sat down and patiently watched me prepare Andrew to leave. Once I deemed him ready to go, the two children hugged each other. It was a loving hug reminiscent of a wife sending her husband off to work in the morning. It was so sweet.
On Monday Andrew had a disturbing cough. I would not have sent him to school, but this was the day that his long-awaited French tutor was to begin. So much paperwork and effort had gone into this University student coming to work specifically with Andrew that I would have been inconsiderate to cancel at the last moment. I took Andrew to school and told the teacher that I did not want him to play outside in the afternoon. I wanted to avoid the cold air in his lungs, as he ran and exerted himself during playtime. His teacher agreed. When I came to retrieve Andrew that day he was playing with magnets on a chalkboard in one of the classrooms. He wasn’t alone. Sweet little Aloha was by his side. When Aloha discovered that Andrew could not play outside, she must have volunteered to play indoors with him. I watched them play for a while. The girl’s mother arrived and then she called to her child….. “Laura.” “Did she say Laura?????”
It appears French children have a different pronunciation for the name Laura. They call the girl something that sounds like Aloha. We prepped our children for the cold weather and they wouldn’t leave each other until they hugged.
This little girl is the definition of a sweetheart. She is calm, gentle and patient which is in stark contrast to my son who can be loud, over energetic and rambunctious.
Don’t get it twisted….Aloha….(I mean Laura) is no pushover. On Thursday the children were pretending to be in a band. Each was playing a musical instrument. Aloha (Laura) had a child-sized accordion. She was joyfully playing it when Andrew ran up to her and decided he wanted to play with it. She held that accordion tightly under her arm. She didn’t let it go. I concealed my laughter and thought to myself “You go girl.” Andrew conceded and found a harmonica to play (no wonder he had a cough — with that many kids sharing a “germy” harmonica) In a few moments they’d both forgotten the accordion incident and when it was time for the children to part, they gave each other their traditional hug.