Monday, June 28, 2010

Dear Teacher,

God understood our thirst for
knowledge, and our need to be led
by someone wiser;
He needed a heart of compassion,
of encouragement, and patience;
someone who would accept
the challenge regardless of the
someone who could see potential
and believe in the best in others . . .
so He made Teachers.

Dear Teacher,

In September of last year, I gave my Heart into your keeping. Nine months later, as I retrieve my excitable,  sensitive and Senior Kindergarten-bound little boy, I offer you a heartfelt thanks.

Thank you for making sure, during the emotional upheaval of the first week of school, that Matthew always had a hand to hold. Thank you for taking the time to seek out my eyes amongst the many as if to say, "Go on, Mama. I'll take it from here."

Thank you for creating a wondrous space for the children - one filled with bright colours and things to touch and feel and discover. For a comfy mat for stories and sharing and for walls brimming with the children's efforts, displayed for all to see.

Thank you for letting Matthew nap some afternoons and for putting him in timeout, too. Thank you for your consistency and for letting him know what's expected in your classroom - it allowed him to grow and find himself within the safety of boundaries and he often repeats the rules of school to his brother. I have adapted a few of your rules in our home and for those alone, I am enormously grateful!

Thank your for your enthusiasm and your energy and for being the one to take Matthew on his first ever school bus ride. He talked about little else for several days afterward and it delighted me. Thank you for your patience and humour: there are days when I am beyond grateful that I get to hand the reins over to you and can barely wait until the bell rings, signalling the beginning of your shift and one less son to run herd on during mine. How I wish that I could handpick you for Luke, when his turn comes in another year.

Thank you for putting me at ease as I trooped into the school each afternoon, straining a bit to get to Matthew whilst attempting - rather poorly, I'll admit - to corral his younger brother. Thank you for  impromptu updates and your own pride in Matthew's burgeoning skills. For remembering to say, "Au revoir" and for the warmth in Matthew's voice when he responds, effortlessly,  in French.YOU taught him that and it's a wonder to see and hear.

Thank you for saving and treasuring all his worksheets and projects and for pointing out how well his printing is coming along. For encouraging both Matthew AND me to keep reading and to enjoy the moments, instead of worrying about the technicalities of learning to read. For opening his eyes to the worlds that await through language and books.

Thank you for all of this and so much more and for doing it all with a gentle smile. This is your calling, Teacher and I'm so glad that your life's journey included the cradling, nurturing and freeing of my Heart, Matthew.

You will be greatly missed.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Giddy Up!

I am not an "animal" person. Oh, I like animals well enough, just not enough to have any of my own. They're work and I am lazy. There it is.

But Luke. Luke loves animals. All kinds. He doesn't care one whit if a dog loping by is not known to us  - he wants to love the dog and will boldly march up to any owner and announce his wish: "I want to pet your dog, ok?" Big. Small. Mangy. Drooling. None of it matters to Luke, so long as he can hug the animal.

Ditto cats, including the feral one that appeared on our doorstep one morning last week. Luke was out the front door in a flash, toying with the cat's dirty, matted fur before I could even lunge across the room. And I'll be damned if that cat didn't roll over and purr.

Birds. Worms. Dragonflies. Ducks. Canadian Geese. So far, nothing is safe from Luke's special kind of loving embrace. Think, "I want to hug him and love him and call him George"...

And now? Horses. Lord help me, my beloved son, my very soul, is smitten with horses.

Smit. ten.

 It runs in the family you see, although I was not-so-secretly hoping that the "love horses" gene would pass the Reds by, given their mother's indifference. Alas. Couldn't be my niece and nephew - the ones who visit the horses daily with their mother. Oh, nooo. B. and K. have a healthy respect for the animals and are comfortable around them, but they are not, so far, drawn to them. Nope. LUKE is. Figures.

My mother-in-law, herself utterly animal-crazy,  is delighted at this newest development and has done very little to disguise her glee - and so I blame her, because really, this animal-obsession business is all her fault! SHE was the one visited a psychic years ago, who foresaw a curly-headed blond grandchild standing beneath a horse's belly, safe, comfortable and happy.

We assumed, naturally, that my sister-in-law would be parenting this not-yet-born little character, since she's the horse person. We assumed, quite understandably, that MY children would be content to read about horses instead. Much less mess that way.

But no. Luke, whose auburn locks have morphed to blond and curl gently at his ears, is happiest when getting dirty. In the barn or simply in the paddock he is fearless -  in his element and happier than I've ever seen him:

Sigh. I'd best be buying some boots. Mucking stalls is a particularly messy sort of joy...