Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Out of Nowhere

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 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 hit like a brick wall out of nowhere. I am sad and grateful all wrapped into one. Please pray for my 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. :)


Devin said...

I understand a lot of this, completely. I am a crier, too--and I do a lot of it at the boys' school. There are a lot of emotions that came with all this day had to hold, Kristy...just let it out :). That's what your friends are here for--to listen, when you need it, even if it doesn't make any sense to us.

(It made perfect sense, by the way....)

The Pittsburgh Hites said...

It makes total sense. Know that there are so many of us that love and care for you and are lifting you up in prayer as you make your decisions. Miss you friend!

The Pittsburgh Hites said...

Your post makes total sense Kristy. Remember that there are so many of us out here thinking of you, and lifting you up in prayer as you make your decisions. Prayers friend. Miss you so much!

Laurie in Ca. said...

Oh Kristy, you have my heart and my prayers sweetie. I understand, in my own childhood memories, I do. I love you and you have my promise to pray for God's direction in your decisions. Healing the past is tough.

Love and Hugs, Laurie

kg said...

It is things like your experience as a child, and your son's experience in first grade, that re-inforce to me why little public schools are so important. Not everyone can homeschool. Not everyone has a home that is that loving nurturing place. That nurturing family that is a small school can be that for kids. Public schools need our support to be there and be good for kids. They can be, and some like the one you experienced are!
The one my kids attend and my husband works at is one like that. It is a great place. More kids need those kind of places, and they will only have them with our help and support.
It was neat that you were able to give back at the very place that could reach out and care for you!

Mary Herl said...

Understandable,Kristy, why you had such a reaction today. So many beginnings and so many endings.......all in the circle of life. Thoughts and prayers ~~~~~Mary Herl

Emily said...

Love you so. Proverbs 3:5 <3

Cheryl said...

So sorry for your difficult day. I find that ever since I lost Caleb, that any loss after that is magnified...

You have experienced much loss with your mom and then your children. Things like saying goodbye to a beloved teacher are not easy. On top of that add your homeschooling questions and you have the recipe for a little emotion.

Be easy on yourself. When someone else close to you is feeling a little teary eyed, they won't be embarassed to cry when you are around because they know that you have been there. When you a person who shows your emotion, you are more likely to be more compassionate to others, in my opinion....and what a gift that is!

With love and Hope,

Penny said...

As a teacher, your sweet (but sad) memories of your school and your teachers, really hits home with me. School was my Haven during my parents' divorce and an abusive childhood. I hope it is for the students I have in my kindergarten class each year. I had a little boy (6 yrs. old) last school year that lost his daddy to cancer. I had the class all draw him pictures and sign their names under the sentence, "We love you, MarQuavis." and stapled them into a book. I delivered it to his home. I wondered if it really made that big of a difference (if it helped) until he returned to school a week later. That "book" was inside his folder and his backpack, the only place he could keep it safe. He was in first grade this year and every time he sees me, he throws his arms around me and hugs me. :) I hope he always remembers the love his teacher and classmates showed him during that time. It makes my heart happy that you remember it after all those years.
BTW Your babies will be fine no matter what decisions you and Howard make about their schooling. They have the both of you. :)

Monica said...

I too wear my heart right out there and milestones can be sooo bitter-sweet!
I'm so glad you have/had such a wonderful structure and loving school to be part of your life.

I will lift you up in your decision for the schooling of your children! I believe firmly that one must only choose to homeschool if their reason is big enough to face the tough days! They are there and it can be hard to remember what made you decide to do that after all... so a strong reason can keep you hanging in there. :)
My reason to homeschool (not including being in CA with terrible curriculum) is Deut. 6's call to teach our children all of the time, which becomes difficult if they are away from you for 6 to 8 hours a day and sleep 8 to 10 hours a day...
and that reason has helped me when the day has been rough and I just need a break!

Praying that the rest of your week went beautifully!