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| Make Her Day |

One Hundred Pieces of Chocolate

We gave them $100. They made someone’s day. 9 stories


Nominated by Y.C. Katz

 

Never cry in front of your boss. It’s a rule I live by, both as a teacher and a teaching mentor. I tell it to the young teachers I advise, and in all my years of teaching, I’ve never personally broken that rule.

Until I taught Gavi.

He was a challenge, to put it mildly. Completely nonverbal, I received zero confirmation that he was actually internalizing anything I was teaching. Not only that, he lacked impulse control and would react with aggression to most triggers. A big, strong 11-year-old, he’d throw a table across the room if upset, spill platters of food, knock drinks out of the assistants’ hands and more.

He also had a sensitive GI tract and would constantly throw up.

We tried our best, but one Thursday, things got out of control. He threw things, he threw up, we changed him, he threw up again. We called his mother.

Gavi’s mother is an incredible woman who advocates for her son daily. She dresses him with love and care, ensures he receives the best therapy, and is constantly researching different methods through which to reach him.

She’s confided in me in the past that it’s hard for her; she has other children, grandchildren, a whole life that falls by the wayside while caring for her son.

I felt bad calling her, but she came in calmly, changed her son yet again, and escorted him home.

Shaken, the assistants and I went to meet with the administration.

And that’s when I broke my rule.

Before I could explain the frustration of trying to reach a little boy locked in his own world, of avoiding flying tables and puddles of soup and peas, I broke down crying.

Maybe that’s why when we arrived in school the next day, each teacher received a Klik chocolate bar from the administration with the words: Thank you for making this week “klik.” Your devotion and hard work is appreciated. Rest up and have a good Shabbos.

The small gesture warmed me, and on the way home, I envisioned waking up early Shabbos morning, pouring myself a large mug of coffee, and savoring my well-deserved treat.

“You know who I really want to give this chocolate to?” I said aloud to my empty car. “Gavi’s mother.”

I got home, drained, and sat down for a minute before starting my Shabbos preparations. And that’s when I saw the contest staring up at me from the Family First. Without thinking, I began to write, the emotions and pain flowing into the keyboard.

I nominate Gavi’s mother. A woman who gives of her whole self for her son, who rarely sees any reward. I’d love to send her 100 days’ worth of chocolate.

She received a beautiful chocolate arrangement with 100 pieces of chocolate in it. When she opened the door and read the note I’d written her, she just stood there, tears sliding down her face. Chocolate is sweet, but having your struggle noticed by another is even sweeter.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 736)

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