Friday, May 1, 2009

Catch Up....

... I know it's been a REALLY long time since I have posted. I have been getting ready to hand my class over to a replacement who was hired for me for the last month of school. It comes at perfect timing--I'm fighting asthma triggered by either a cold or allergies and am more exhausted than I thought possible. But today was my last day.

It was stressful because I just wanted everything to go well. There were some snags, like the pizza I ordered for our lunch party not coming until we had 5 minutes of lunch left (I called around 10 and asked for it to be delivered at 11... it came at 11:25). Thankfully, the other math teachers were very flexible and gracious and let my students (whom they teach for math) eat the lunch that finally arrived before heading on to math. Matt stopped by too, which the kids absolutely loved. :)

My plan had been to leave the room at about 1:30, and my replacement would read them stories until the bus and parent pickup bells rang (1:40 and 1:45). I thought if I stayed in the room until the last minute, I'd have to peel kids off of me. That's not the "last memory" I wanted them to have. But they brought so many gifts (SO sweet!) and all wanted me to open them in front of all of them (I normally don't do that, because I would never want one who didn't bring anything to feel bad) that I went a little over! After the gifts, I wanted all the focus to be on THEM. :) So we had our awards ceremony, and my replacement put their gifts from me on their desks. Then we had a talk about how different is different, not wrong. So while I do things probably very differently than their 2nd grade teacher did, we still had a GREAT year together. And they give each other the freedom to be different, so I asked them to please give my replacement the same freedom. I told them they don't even have to tell her when she does things differently. If they think of that, they can just think it to themselves and decide to enjoy learning a different way something can be done. Some of them were already tearing up at that point, and then the bus rider bell rang (that talk lasted only about 5 minutes). I knew I had to leave the room, so I started to say, "Okay, I'm going to go ahead and leave," but then I lost it. I apologized for crying, which I think was actually a God thing. Not only did they see how much I care and that this is NOT an easy decision for me, but they were so sweet--immediately their focus shifted to trying to make me feel better. Instead of crying themselves, they put on a brave face and told ME it was okay and told ME not to cry. :) I told them I love them, that their gifts were on their desks for when they were dismissed, that they are going to have a great end of the year, and that I will see them in the fall when I bring Asa for lunch one day. Then I got up and left before I think they even realized what was happening. I went and hid in the library (just down the hall) until they were gone. My replacement said no one was hysterical and that some seemed like they wanted to cry, but it all happened so fast that they didn't. I'm SOOO glad.

I don't know why it was harder to say goodbye to this group than others I've had. With other classes, I was sure I would cry the last day but didn't or only a little in the car on the way home. I think a piece of it is the finality of leaving classroom teaching for a whole new realm of teaching and nurturing as a stay-at-home mom. And pieces of it are the way we really bonded as they took ownership of Asa themselves as honorary aunts and uncles (so they tell me), and I think there was just something different with this group. There's always been at least one that really stood out as needing extra love. With this group, there were lots. I think back to knowing Matt and I hoped to have a baby last summer, to get pregnant a year before we actually ended up trying, but God told us to wait. I think about what I would have missed if we'd been disobedient. If we'd chosen what we wanted instead of what He wanted.... I wouldn't have known any of these kids. There are lots of reasons we see this is the PERFECT timing for Asa to join our family and we KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that not only was obeying and waiting another year the right thing solely because it was obedient, but because of countless other circumstances we have seen unfold. I KNOW I was supposed to teach this class this year. I KNOW this group of precious children whom my heart aches for right now is a major factor in God directing us to wait. I don't know what all lessons I will realize as more time to think through my year with them passes, but I do hope and pray He has used me to plant seeds, eternal seeds, in them this year that others will encourage and nurture as they grow older. I am so thankful for this year, as painful as it was last year to wait when I didn't understand why. My heart ached then, but it is FULL now (as much as I'm missing those 20 smiling faces). God is SO good.