It’s a strange way to open this post, but stick with me for a moment…. I cannot believe that NINE YEARS ago tomorrow, I graduated from nursing school!!! It’s flown by, but anyway, I can remember thinking of nurses who worked in Children’s Hospitals as like the absolute top of the top…like best job EVER status. If you’ve never been inside a children’s hospital, they are magical. This feeling only intensified when my own sweet baby was a patient at one! Seriously though, we walked through those doors and there was no staring, no questions, no explanations, no barriers….every child that walked through those doors was loved just as they were, even if there was a plan in place to help move them to an even higher potential. I.love.Children’s.Hospitals. (I know, I’m weird.)
I literally could not believe that another, similar place could hold a candle to this status until this past July when we took a tour of The Rise School of Austin. Every child of every ability has a special place in their classes, and I had to take a moment this week- this Teacher Appreciation Week- to try and express my gratitude for the amazing women who have been pouring into our kids’ lives this year.
In the midst of my trip to Hobby Lobby today to gather up all the supplies for my ridiculous and humble attempt at homemade goodies for teacher treats, I couldn’t help it…I got so teared up. It happened again when I was driving to pick them up. And may or may not be happening right this very moment, as I write. And although I’m writing to six specific ladies, it dawned on me that mamas everywhere feel like this about teachers everywhere (well, maybe not THIS much, because our teachers are just that amazing.). To the Queens of Preschool I and Preschool II: you. are. loved.
Preschool I…I know you’ve only known our boy since the Fall, but I want you to know that each one of you are an answer to prayer that Colby and I have been praying since the day he was born. There was so much fear in our hearts about going to “big school” because we were scared of so many things this time last year. This time last year, we tried to work on tracing letters, coloring in the lines and scissors….and he would run away from the table crying and saying “I can’t!” And now he’s drawing a man holding an umbrella in a rainstorm, cutting out little squares with the letters of his name, and making an intricate drawing of Joseph and his “coat of many colors” with tiny little lines of all the colors of the rainbow (and four fingered hands…LOVE). He’s beginning to read! You’ve taught him the art and JOY of telling jokes…something that will serve him well as he grows up in a cruel and assuming world. You’ve seen potential in him. You’ve given him the gift of confidence, and the words to stand up for himself and be strong. You are loved.
Preschool II…you all, too, are an answer to prayer. My mama’s heart has feared a severe case of “middle child syndrome” for our sweet girl. Big bro has cute tiny arms, little bro is Korean and also has special needs…they both take up a lot of time and folks outside the family make sure to emphasize how speeeeeeeeeecial they are, and sometimes forget our sweet girl’s name and just call her “sister”. And let’s face it, she’s a beauty with a whopping side dish of passion and spice! In other settings, all people could see was her feisty little self and determined (read: stubborn) nature, and totally missed the amazing compassion, gentleness, and love below that surface level. You saw and helped develop something beautiful in her: leadership, compassion, acceptance, and responsibility. You helped crack away that little stubborn shell and chose to see her creative, smart, sassy and fun loving side. I mean, her academics are doing great too, but I’ve always known she’d do great there….it’s her character development that have been such a treasure to me. You are loved.
You’ve been the most fun people ever: doing all KINDS of crafts involving shaving cream, ice cubes and hammers, mud, food coloring, rice, beads, play doh, and every other material imaginable to give someone like me the creeps just thinking of the clean up. You loved dolphins, you let a group of four year olds in on the excitement of a new baby, you chose cookie decorating for the Valentine’s party, you dress up as all KINDS of characters, have weekly dance parties, make Eden’s dreams come true by loving kitties and unicorns and rainbows as much as she does, and share your world with children: your pets, your loves, your celebrations. Who knew that my kids would be practicing math, social skills, fine motor skills, and communication skills while playing in “Starbucks” counting pumps of vanilla syrup and running the cash register?! Who knew my kiddo would be serving up sushi from posh “Uchi” in his very own classroom and learning to cook from a real chef?! Who knew my kids would be teaching me about carnivores, exoskeletons, precipitation, Vincent VanGough’s Starry Night, on our drives home…not to mention teaching me some pretty sick dance moves to “Pop See Ko” and “J is a Consonant”?! You know who knew? Teachers. Because they are so awesome and so amazingly gifted. Reflecting these past few days, I’ve become so aware that I’m sooooooo not gifted at teaching kids, and I have had this overwhelming gratitude for those in our lives that are over-the-top gifted in this area, and as equally passionate. I want you all to know that you’re an answer to our prayers. We carried these babies through hard, scary times, struggled to raise and teach them “good” things and “hard” things. We strive to be the kind of parents we need to be, and then they grow, and we hand them to you, for a good portion of their week, to work your magic and it is truly a sight to behold. You all are treasures to us, because we have entrusted our little treasures to you, and you’ve taken our efforts and multiplied them. (And we are just ONE family!!!) You have joined our journey in molding our little people into who they will be for the rest of their lives and how could a stupid box of treats ever quantify gratitude of that magnitude?! Cards, flowers, candy, meals, whatevers will never make the cut, so I hope these words will give you a glimpse into our hearts and know just how appreciated you really are.