I tucked our completed reading test, the first of the year, behind my back and handed out sheets of crisp white paper.
"You did it! I'm so proud of you. First, choose any color. Then, please write your name on your paper. Next, you can draw a picture!"
I rarely give them free range on the crayons and you could feel the buzzing excitement as the two little hands hovered over the 64 crayons, deciding their color as if it was the biggest decision of the day.
Ten minutes later, after watching them pick and layer and scribble and design, I noticed a small teal figure appear on one of the sheets.
"Ooo! Who is that?" All three of us leaned our heads in to see.
"It's my sister."
"I love the rainbow behind her."
Moments later, after a flurry of carefully chosen colors had come in and out of the box, her arm shot up as she blurted out: "I'm done!"
"It's so lovely!" I pull out my pencil. "What would you like to name your picture?"
"A hug from my sister."
I look back at the little teal figure, skirted with frills, a wash of rainbow hues radiating from her body. I don't believe I will ever see a more beautiful depiction of a hug.
I never thought that some of my hardest moments as a teacher would be letting them take their art home themselves.