Oh, my goodness.
I really don’t know if I can let these kids go!
Teaching has been nothing like I would thought it would be. It’s frustrating, exhausting, and I’m pretty sure I always smell like a mix of dirt, hand sanitizer, and little-kid-sweat when I arrive home every day. (This is the main reason why the first thing I do every day when I get home is drop everything, strip down, and jump into a blistering hot shower.) Some days I’d give anything to be doing anything else, anywhere else, but at the end end of every day, I know that right now I am where God wants me to be.
These kids have taken over my heart in ways I can never explain. I realize I am not a mother, but this comes pretty darn close. I’d do just about anything for them. They’re not angels, but they are MY angels.
We had our End of the Year party at the city park. My boss drove all the boys in her car, and I drove the girls in mine. They had a blast shuffling through the random crap I keep in my backseat- the most prized items were a stuffed Garfield, a children’s activity book about pumpkins, and a cookbook. We got to the park, and they were turned loose! I could hardly keep up with them on the giant playground, so I settled for standing directly in the middle of it and turning in circles to watch them, plus keeping an eye on the outsides to make sure none escaped. Thank God my boss, along with a set of parents and a set of grandparents plus a dad were there to help me watch over them! My kids were ecstatic to be able to climb, run, jump, scream, and swing all morning long. (I finally had to chase one of my girls down and tell her to stop screaming because it sounded like she was actually hurt, and my heart jumped into my throat every time I heard her.)
Anyway, after about two hours of playing, we settled down and ate lunch- one of my kids’ parents provided pizza and drinks for everyone. We had cookies and fruit snacks, and then my kids went wild again for a little while longer until it was time to head back.
I found myself trying to choke back tears more than once over the morning. I have had a difficult year of teaching- moving away from all my friends right after graduation, plus starting my first big-girl job a week after the move, PLUS planning a wedding, was very stressful for me. At the same time, though, this has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Every single day, I get to walk into the building and hear at least ten kids screaming my name as they hurl themselves at my legs. I am a millionaire in hugs and “I love yous,” and I am the recipient of many “special rocks,” flowers, pictures, and lovely gifts. Over the year, four of my kids have learned to read very well for their age, and every one of them has mastered writing his or her name. I have won the love of one little boy who told me he hated me the entire first month I taught him, and I have developed a bond with these kids that I don’t know I will ever forget. Several of them will be leaving me, to go on to kindergarten or to move to other programs, and I will miss them terribly. I hope that they will always be able to think back and remember just a little bit about their time in Miss Abby’s room.