By the time Annie had regained her composure and turned back to her class, the mock sword fight between the boys had degenerated into a wrestling match, the girls doing their best to ignore them.
She sensed her plan to get her kids talking, have them get excited about their play time outside of class, wasn’t going to work. They were showing more interest today in her life, her activities, her fencing club at the school.
“All right.” The boys stopped wrestling as her voice cut through the multi-colored air under the parachute. “Who wants to be first in the center?” Amid the squeals of ME ME, Annie herded the Tiny Tots out from under the parachute, back to its edges, where she and the children each grabbed a rope handle and walked in a clockwise circle as Tallie sat in the center, her eyes brimming with the joy of innocent play.
And when she saw that the rest of the class had similar looks on their faces as they pulled the parachute with her, Annie remembered (not for the first time that day) how happy she was to have accepted Gandy’s offer to teach the class. No she didn’t need the money, and with her classes and other activities there would be weeks where teaching on Thursday afternoons would not be convenient.
But this class was important to her, as was Riverview Gymnastics, where she had spent so many hours of training from the time she was seven. “We need you,” Gandy had told her in December when offering Annie the Thursday class, but Annie knew the truth was that she needed them as much, if not more.