Late last night, I read the news that so many of you have heard. About 5pm yesterday evening, Steven Curtis Chapman's son (I think he's about 17?) accidentally ran over his baby sister, 5 year old Maria, and killed her in the family's driveway. I was horrified, not only for the loss of this little girl, but for the boy who will have to carry this around the rest of his life. I can't imagine being the parents of this poor boy and trying to help him through this while at the same time mourning their little girl's death. So tragic! And so this morning while driving home from taking kids to school, I heard Mr. Chapman's song "Cinderella", and I lost it. The song was written about his daughters, both the 20 year old and his youngest ones, including Maria. In case you haven't heard it, this is the one I'm talking about.
And with that on my mind this morning, I drove to work knowing that I would be saying good-bye to several children that I won't be seeing anymore. Today was the last day for my Tuesday/Thursday class. I had a hard time seeing the road on my drive to work. Tears clouded my vision, but I pulled it together when I got to work. I was doing OK til one of the moms came in & got all teary-eyed telling me how much she appreciated me and what I'd done for her daughter this year. Luckily, I only teared up for a minute & was able to get through the rest of the day without crying in front of the kids. Leaving work, I again felt the emotions of losing contact with those kiddos. I will still see a few of them this summer while I'm teaching, but there were at least a few that I had to say good-bye to today. It's always hard to say goodbye to those kiddos when you've invested so much time & energy into them for the past year. Their parents all went together and bought me a gift certificate to a local spa. I can't wait to use it! It's for a full day of beauty. A 1 hour massage, a facial, a mani/pedi and lunch! Wow! That will be a treat. Anyway, it's nice to be validated by the parents...to know that you made an impact and they appreciate it. But I'll still miss the kiddos.
Since the year is over, and I'm not giving their full names or their addresses or something like that, I think I can safely share a few thoughts with the world about these kids now. Let me introduce you to some of "my" kids from school.
This is Caitlyn. She is an inquisitive little girl who's kept me on my toes this year. She's got the energy & curiosity to make an awesome scientist one day! I can't wait to see where the future takes her. She's got a great family who are strong in their faith. With a super family & God on her side, I'm sure she will do well in life.
This is Alyssa. You may remember me telling you about Alyssa earlier this year. She is my spunky little friend who had surgery on her legs to correct club-feet. She made it through the surgery & recovery with amazing speed & strength. She has got a sweet little personality & will make a super teacher one day!
This is John Walker. He is a little love bug. His mom told me that he often draws pictures of me at home & tells her that he loves me and wants to marry me. How sweet is that? He's a little country boy with the cutest southern accent. I love this kid! One day, he'll be selling John Deere tractors at the feed store. (ha ha....no really, he'd LOVE to do this!)
This is Bobby (on the right). Bobby is the sweetest little boy! He started the year feeling a little insecure & shy and finished the year running full-steam ahead. He has got a gentle personality & soft heart. Say hello to the next Billy Graham....or elementary principal. I think he'll be a preacher or work with kids. Hard to decide which one...
And lastly, this is Zoie. I had Zoie's big brother a few years ago when he was 3 years old. When I saw Zoie's name onmy class list this year, I knew she had to be his baby sister. (Trust me...you can't miss it w/ their last name--it's truely unique!) She has been a great joy to teach this year. She's helpful and kind, caring and sweet. And the girl loves art! One of these days, it wouldn't suprise me to hear that she's the next Martha Stewart!
The rest of my Tues/Thurs class are kids that come 5 days a week, so it wasn't my last day with them...yet. Tomorrow I will introduce you to the rest of "my kids", including my 5 day kids. Til then, I'll leave you with this picture. It's our class's group picture for the year. Pardon the picture of a picture, but it's the best I could do.
I love you guys. Have a great summer!