Saturday, January 12, 2013

Give them wings

 I remember when I became a parent how quickly I fell in love with Luke. I had imagined, of course, what it would be like to have a baby. I loved him before he was born. But something about looking at his eyes took my breath away. And every day that passed found me more and more in love with this tiny being.

And then we had Liam. I was anxious on how I would be able to love both equally, although you are always assured that you will. I worried about Luke, would he feel that we were not there for him as we took care of the new baby? Sure enough, fell in love immediately and my heart was big enough for two.

At some point during the raising of these two little boys I realized, if I did my job well, they would leave me. I mean that’s what we’re working towards, right? That they will grow up and not need me? Talk about a punch in the gut. As the hormones calmed down I knew that I was right, but it is as it should be. And I’m ok with it.

I watch them becoming boys, and pre-teens. I am so proud of who they are. I love spending time with them, talking about dreams, friends, books. They are the best parts of my day.

The same holds true for teaching. I have the honor of meeting these people when they are around ten years old. They are just on the cusp of becoming teens. So much lies ahead for them. And, if I do my job as their teacher well, they will become independent.

This weekend I had the pleasure of running into several former students. I saw two seventh graders and one sixth grader while running errands. A high school junior bagged my groceries for me. And at the library I saw a college freshman, home on break. I was able to talk to them all. Ask what they are reading, how they were enjoying school.

The college freshman told me I should read a certain book I was considering, that it was one of his favorites. When I arrived home I ordered it. I remember his reading habits and trust his recommendations. After ordering I sent him a Facebook message to thank him and to, once again, tell him how proud I was of him. His message back ended with this line:

Thank you for educating me. I think you own a part of my success.

No, thank you. Thank you to all of my former students. I wish you all the best in this life. I am so grateful that my heart is big enough not only for those two little boys I adore at my home, but all of my “kids” – at home and at school. Watching you grow up from the kids I met in fourth/ fifth grade into the adults you become is an honor.