long days, short years

It’s another one of those quotes that’s likely already reached cliché-status at this point, but I never promised originality up in here. I also happen to like human beings with the name Gretchen. How’s that for informed decision-making?

The days are long, but the years are short.

I dropped Connor off for the last time at Hopkins Elementary yesterday morning. I couldn’t help but smile through tears as he bounded off in celebration of his last day in a building his friend would later that afternoon call ‘prison’. This friend shall remain nameless, but it should be noted that although his perception of elementary is prison that he views middle school as Alcatraz. I love kids.

Before he ran off, I took a couple of quick pictures in front of the pre-k/kindergarten play area. I asked him to look towards the middle school as if in anticipation because well, he models now. He nailed it. As I looked at the photo on Instagram later, I thought of that playground and the feelings I had on his very first day of school just six years prior. I was a wreck that day. I was in the middle of a divorce and knew that there would be no normal first day of schools for this little munchkin ever. And likely some very, very long days. And I was wearing it all over my face.

But for as long as some of those days were in between, I simply cannot explain how ‘blink-of-an-eyeish’ this all has been. I’m serious! Here we go cliché-ing again!

I also simply cannot express enough genuine appreciation and love to the teachers, staff and administration at Hopkins El. I never doubted that Connor was surrounded by the most incredible educators on the planet. I know. It sounds like a stretch but again, I’m serious.

Because when it comes to teachers, I seriously don’t care if they have 70 degrees and only speak in lesson plans. What I care about is how excited they are to spend the day with my son, how they take interest in the things that matter to him and how they teach him life’s most valuable lessons about how to be a good human. Last I knew, this could extend from those standing in front of the classroom all the way to those who clean the bathrooms. As an aside, I just heard that one of our treasured custodians retired this year. Can you even imagine what those eyes have seen in our school’s bathrooms? Thank your custodian TODAY!

Throughout his elementary experience, Connor was #blessed by the best of the best when it comes to teachers. And even if he wasn’t directly taught by them, he was surrounded by them. I’m reminded of how I knew going into this last year how I had complete confidence that he couldn’t go wrong with any of the three fifth grade teachers. I look at the pride in another teacher’s face (p.s. isn’t she beautiful??) in the photo below at this weeks graduation ceremony end am reminded of just how much these people love our children. I think of how his neighbor also teaches fifth grade and gives him a hard time absolutely every time she sees him. And I’m so thankful she knows exactly how to win him over. IMG_1539_web

But what makes me most proud of Connor’s elementary experience is Connor. I really didn’t set expectations for where he would be in his class (besides first in alphabetical order) from a grades standpoint or how he would perform in PE, music, etc. But he excelled. In everything. And just like with the hopes I had for his teachers, I had the same for him. I prayed that he would be excited to spend the day learning alongside some really good friends. I prayed that he would care about those that others might not, that he would include and take interest in them. And shoot, I can’t lie, some days I prayed that he would just resemble something a little like normal because I’m sure as heck not. And he sure does. #praise

Connor is so excited for middle school so I can’t help but be the same. The truth is, though, I will miss driving up to the elementary and having the chance to see people I know (and love) when I walk through the doors. My heart is overflowing with gratitude for what those people gave my son during some of those long days.

But for now, so long, Hopkins Elementary. (and recess, but don’t tell Connor. He’s still of the opinion he’ll have some time to play outside at middle school. i love kids.)

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P.S. Speaking of resembling normal, CJ’s classmates described him at graduation as competitive, unique, outgoing, funny, popular, athletic, cheerful, humorous, respectful and chatty. (I have no idea where chatty came from).

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