Last week Cooper and Katie participated in half-day camps at the private school attached to the church where I work.
They each had teachers they'd never met before and will likely never see again. So I was faced with the big question: Do I tell their teachers about Steve or let it go?
I decided to let it go. For Cooper, it's rarely an issue. He's less likely to talk about Steve, and at almost 11 he's a capable spokesman and advocate.
For Katie it's tricky because so much of life around her reminds her of Steve, and she's eager to share. But Katie would spend only 15 hours in the class, and her teacher had her hands full with 12 new students, and sometimes I just want to appear, well, normal, I guess.
Katie's camp was "Imagination at Play," and every day there was a different theme around which crafts, snacks, books and games were centered. Teddy bears on Monday, bugs on Tuesday, pajamas/camping on Wednesday, monkeys on Thursday, beach on Friday.
On Thursday, Katie's very kind teacher pulled out Caps for Sale to read to the group.
Katie interrupted before she could begin. (This is the moment when the teacher may have preferred I say something in advance.)
She said something like, "This story is good but it makes me a little sad. My Daddy used to read it to me almost every day. And he died."
The teacher told Katie that she was very sorry. She led the class through a prayer for Katie. And with Katie's permission, she read the story.
Katie, just 7 and a day, proved herself a capable spokeswoman and advocate. I asked her after the fact if she would have preferred I have said something to her teacher in advance.
She shrugged her shoulders. "No, I didn't mind."
(I have not attempted to read that book aloud since the first time I tried after Steve's death. Katie reads it on her own now, whenever she chooses.)