A Year to Remember

28 May

Twenty children and several siblings giggled and wiggled, ready for the pizza and cake, wondering why their mamas were misty-eyed in sheer amazement.

My own heart was full of emotion. Sitting in this same spot last year at a different school my heart had ached when the teacher called my child by the wrong name for the hundredth time, and when the other children taunted each other in the classroom around us. Today I knew we’d come full circle, J3 sitting firmly in his desk next to me, smiling broadly, surrounded by children he’s really connected to this year at school, and enveloped in a place of love, grace and bursting expectation.

“Read it to me!” my son said when he saw the little-bitty print on the letter from one of his teachers on the first page of the giant scrapbook that details every exciting moment of his first grade year. I started the letter. I stopped after the first line. My eyes were filled to the brim and my forehead was making that wrinkle that extends down to my lips, the one that makes my whole face crack into an ugly cry. I had to stop. N-o-w. I’d skimmed ahead in the letter. The one that spoke to the heart of my child–his very HEART–and gave him both faithful encouragement and gentle, Godly advice that can remain with him for the rest of his life.
These women know my child almost as well as I do, I thought. Really, maybe even as well as I do.
Really.

What a gift. What a blessing.

Our teachers are leaving after this year, one retiring after an incredible 28 years of service.
This set the tone for the topic of the day to be “Are you coming back next year.” Oh yes. We will be back. This year has been a logistical challenge. Sometimes I don’t feel as plugged in as I should be. I am not sure I could recommend this school to the next family.

But for us, it’s a gift we treasure. I appreciate the confidence of knowing that when I send my children into the world of school, it is not a world separate from our home. It is an extension of their regular world; it enriches the Christian values they learn at home. I hope it creates a continuity for them, a constancy that they can depend on in times of decision-making. I was once unsure of how important this trial year would be. I am now thankful for how solid this foundation has proven to become.

As I flipped each page of the scrapbook, I was reminded of each milestone J3 has accomplished this year. I could see the improvements little (handwriting!) and large (creativity!) he has made as the months passed. The pictures showed a bright and happy boy, excited about the challenges of school. I could hear his voice on mornings when I would ask him if he wanted to sleep in or stay home to catch up on needed rest: “No way, mom! I need to get to school!” If I’d known they were doing this much activity, I’d have better understood his enthusiasm! More than anything I felt grateful for the time and effort his teacher had put into making these twenty scrapbooks for every child’s family.

Finally, on to the pizza and cake, but not before we tell you one more time:
We will miss you, Mrs. Matthewson and Mrs. Washam, but we will never, ever forget you.

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