I try to close out the school year by thanking the families of my students. I thank them for giving me the gift of sharing in the lives of their children. As a teacher I spend most of my life with little people I did not give birth to. Some days, quite honestly, I feel like I lay my own girls on the altar of teaching. I don't think I am alone in that aspect and with most avocations (and I do think teaching is one) sacrifice comes with the territory.
But it's okay because of this...
At years closing, I wonder where the time went. In a blink of an eye they are gone and off to someone else. All that is left is the memory of them. Their little voices and the echos of their laughter are but shadows in my mind. Some days, if I can sit still long enough, I will rewind the photos in my memory and fast-forward through the images. Some of those images will make me smile. Some will make me sigh. Some, I have to admit, will make me growl but then I am sure, giggle. And some will make me cry. Not too many people can say that.
But, the one memory I will, do have, always return to, and am thankful for, is that of a child who left this world too early. His name was Hank. The ache I felt at his passing was indescribable. I was not his mother, but the sense of mourning in some ways was that of a mother. As with all the children I have taught, I carry a piece of him in my heart and there he lives forever.
I have loved each and every one of my students and when they leave I miss them dearly. But I am a lucky woman. I am lucky because I can keep them right there in the middle of my heart. There they will stay happy, young, vibrant, full of life, potential and laughing, forever.
There, I will love them. forever.
And for this gift that only a Teacher can receive, I thank God for everyday.
That gift is the children.