It’s what I do. I’m an end-of-the-school-year crier. It’s on my driver’s license, right next to “organ donor.”
I cried when I was teacher – partly out of pure and utter exhaustion and partly because these children that I invested in, cared for, prayed over, taught, nurtured, lost sleep over – they were leaving. Just like that - gone. My heart always protested - but those are my kids. My learners. My heart. I know, I know… they weren’t actually MY kids. They belonged to families - families that would entrust them to another teacher the next school year. But when you invest so much of yourself into little souls, it can be pretty hard to let go. Yep, it’s hard to let go of the spicy kids, too. Maybe even harder to let go of them…
Now, I cry as a mom.
It’s not because school is over and now I’ll have both boys home all day and I won’t be able to aimlessly wander around Target or go to coffee or write uninterrupted or enjoy the blissful silence that is void of all things related to Alvin and the Chipmunks. It’s not because I know that for the next 3 months my house will be littered with matchbox cars and too many paper airplanes and random snack crumbs and sand. Oh the sand.
No. I cry because I know what the end of a school year means.
It means saying goodbye to my sons’ teachers.
Mr. Wild (who happens to be so NOT wild) and Mrs. Rasmussen aren’t just teachers at Meadowlark school. They are our people. They are part of our family. Other than my husband and me, they are the people who know my children the best.
They have spent 1,260 hours with my children. They know their quirks and their preferences and their dreams and hopes and struggles. They can tell when my children are tired or perhaps have had a wee bit too much sugar. They’ve comforted my kids when they’re sick. They’ve cleaned and bandaged their scrapes. They’ve corrected them and redirected them and hopefully haven’t lost too much sleep wondering how to best help them learn or behave or get along with others.
These teachers “get” my children in a way that other people don't.
I don’t know if it takes a village to raise a child.
But I do know that it takes some pretty darn good teachers.
I’ll miss them.
To me, the last day of school feels like saying goodbye to a family member and not knowing when or if I'll see them again. I know that if I do see them – next month or next year, it won’t be same. Mr. Wild and Mrs. Rasmussen will have moved on. They will have embraced a whole new batch of little souls and I’ll be trying to help our new teachers know and appreciate and love and value the two souls that I drop off each day.
So, if you see me on June 10 in the midst of the ugly cry, just pat my shoulder. And then maybe offer me a Kleenex or a hug or a 16 ounce soy-carmel-extra-hot-no-foam latte.
I’ll get over it. It’s just going to take some time.
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