Luke and the very best first grade teacher on the planet on his last day of first grade and the last school day of her career.
I am an emotional girl. I own it. I cry easily and wear my emotions like a hat. My emotions can change rapidly and I praise God each day that He gave me Howard who can just roll with the punches.
Luke was sick yesterday and had to miss his last FULL day of school but he woke up feeling much better this morning and really wanted to go to school today. I got everyone up and dressed...choking back tears all the while. My sweet mother in law came over to keep the little ones so I could pay attention at the last day of school Awards Assembly instead of chasing them. (So thankful for her)
Luke and I loaded into the van and headed to that little school where Howard and I each also got our start in education. I walked into the familiar doors, signed in, placed my bright pink visitor sticker neatly on my dress and headed to Luke's classroom. I have spent quite a bit of time in Luke's classroom this year and have enjoyed every moment. He belongs to a wonderful class of kids and has the best first grade teacher a kid could ask for. I have felt very at home in his class and more than welcome at all times.
You see, Howard and I both were blessed to have this very same first grade teacher. I couldn't love her more. Throughout the year as I would volunteer, I admit, I had to fight my OCD and NOT begin cleaning and organizing her room and I was able to sit back and see the beauty in 37 years of experience that spilled out all over that room.
As I walked into that very classroom this morning I could see a desk, shelves, tables, countertops and a floor. It seemed so empty. I couldn't hold the tears and they began to stream down my cheeks. Luke gave her her gift and again the tears streamed. We then headed to the Awards assembly where Luke was recognized for a few things (citizenship, good student, reader) and Mrs. Camp was also recognized. When she got up to speak, the tears began to roll...then she went on to talk of how our family had blessed her in her last year of teaching and the silent flow of tears became the ugly cry. Once she finished I left the room to gather myself. Yet every time I would pull it together, I would lose it again.
I WAS the crazy mom. The one that just keeps crying at school. It was awful. I stood there...looking around the cafegymatorium and wondering why I was such a basket case. We live in a small community and this particular retiring teacher attends our church...it isn't like we aren't going to see her again, we'll see her Sunday.
As I sat here reflecting on the morning wondering why I was such a lunatic, it dawned on me that it is perhaps because of the same reason I am struggling with the idea of homeschooling. I KNOW that I can teach my kids in a creative and fun way at home and get to be with them all the time and that it will be a fabulous experience, yet I love this little school so much it hurts to think of pulling them out. My reasons for wanting to homeschool are not about protecting our children from the world, or that I think the school is horrible. Just that as one mom with three kids, I think I can give him an education that one teacher with twenty three kids cannot, even if she is super teacher. I can't say enough good things about the teachers and staff at Luke's school.
You see, when I was in third grade, at this very school, my mom died. I remember my dad saying we could take as much time as we wanted from school after her funeral. I wanted to go right back. This school was my comfort, my safe place and my family. It was a constant in the world of a nine year old girl who couldn't keep up with how fast everything else was spinning. I was loved there and cared for. Even though we moved to the next town over to live with my grandma, my dad had someone drive us back to this little school for the second half of my third grade and all of my fourth grade year. He knew that this school had become my family. My security blanket was the old school bell out front, the brick walls and the love inside.
I suppose I have not let go of that. I have been so excited to have my children know the family of this little school. As I walked the halls today feeling those feelings of comfort and familiarity it dawned on me that there are only two teachers left from the family I knew when I was nine. Mrs. Camp was one and her sister Miss Porter (my 3rd grade teacher) the other. SO the idea that one more of those faces would no longer lovingly greet me and hug me as I walked those halls, that there would only be one person left in that school who knew my mom, knew me before she died and loved me after was overwhelming for me. I think that is where my comfort in recent times have come from. There are people there. Who really know my story...who really know all of the junk and they still love me fiercely.
I don't have a lot of memories of my mom or of my young childhood and that school and those amazing people who worked there were my family. They were my bridge over troubled waters and they grew with me and helped me cope when my mind couldn't even comprehend what had happened. They loved me before they pitied me for what happened. In that school I wasn't JUST the girl who's mom shot herself. They loved me before that and didn't just love me because of my sad baggage. I felt genuinely loved there.
So today...I am struggling...I never saw it coming...it hit like a brick wall out of nowhere. I am sad and grateful all wrapped into one. Please pray for my heart...it just feels awfully broken today. I have some big decisions to make about Luke's schooling and I want to be sure I follow God and not just get bogged down by my baggage. I completely apologize if none of this makes sense. :)