Thursday, June 14, 2012

First and Last

First day of kindergarten
Last day of kindergarten
I started crying the night before as I wrote the thank-you note to her teacher.  I would post the letter here, but I'd just start crying again as I typed it out.  What this woman meant to my daughter is impossible to capture in a card.  My friend Julie called her daughter's first teacher in the U.S. a "first responder," and I find this a good description.  Our daughter's teacher was also a surrogate mother from 8:30-3:00 every day, a woman who went above and beyond to make sure Beti felt secure, nurtured, supported and validated at every moment of her day at school.  That is not an exaggeration: at every moment.  She never once flinched at the prospect of welcoming at the 11th-hour a newly adopted child from a foreign country who spoke virtually no English.  She will forever be one of my life's heroes.

On the last day of school, she showed all the kids and parents the 20-minute DVD she's put together of highlights from the year, set to Michael Jackson and White Stripes songs.  A solid half of the parents were crying through it.  She gathered all the kids together, stood above them, pulled out a wand, and declared them all first-graders. 

The kids ran to hug her, and after it was Beti's turn, I grabbed her too and thanked her.  I held on tight.  I couldn't hold back the tears, and as she hugged me, she assured me that Beti would be okay and that she could write her as many emails as she wanted over the summer and come visit next year.  I squeakily and tearfully asked, "Can I come too?"

I have always loved and respected the teachers I've known, but now that I'm a parent of school-aged children, the value I give them has grown exponentially.  We are so lucky, so thankful, so happy that Beti experienced what could not have been a better kindergarten year. 

What an emotional week.


Nora said...

Oh! A wand! A DVD! What a magical woman--how lucky for you all to have her in your lives.

Rebecca said...

That just made me cry too.

Lynette said...

Look how she's grown! Outside and inside, thanks to her loving, nurturing family and, as you've vividly conveyed, her loving and nurturing kindergarten teacher. Blessings abound.

mama becca said...

oof. crying here too. amazing.

Dani Schmidt said...

Thank you. I am officially bawling in public.