My daughter started kindergarten at Shadow Forest Elementary in August of 2009 and my son started 2 years later. That means I’ve spent the last eight years driving back and forth to this school. This school that has held my children for more waking hours of the day than I have. This school that has become more than a school to them and more like a second home.
As my youngest is about to wrap up his last week of his last year in elementary school, I tried to think of words to say how much I appreciate Shadow Forest. It occurred to me around 3AM this morning that I will never have all the right words. So instead of all the right words, I decided to share the few I have.
I. Am. Thankful.
I am thankful to Mrs. Lackey for leading a team of teachers for all these years. She leads teachers who lead my kids on to be bigger thinkers with bigger hearts…and for that I am grateful.
I am thankful to Mrs. Grayson for always making sure the library was stocked with Titanic books when my daughter went through a 4 year Titanic obsession. I’m thankful she spoke words of kindness to me about Captain Underpants and Mindcraft books, assuring me that a boy reading these books was a boy reading. And that’s better than a boy not reading.
I’m thankful to computer teachers, art teachers, PE teachers, and music teachers…all have opened new doors of learning for my kids.
I’m thankful for Mrs. Clift, who was one of the early ones to gently turn my girl away from bossiness and towards leadership. In kindergarten. I am grateful.
I have so much gratitude for Mrs. Dolmage, who was one of the first in the line of many, who worked tirelessly to help my boy focus. She had to listen to him hum the theme song of Indiana Jones every time he wrote his name. All. Year.Long.
I love Mrs. Crain, who had both of my babies in 1st grade and treated them, and every other kid in her classes, like family. Because that’s what her class was. It was a family.
Mrs. Holderread taught me how to help my daughter with 2nd grade math. It was new and involved number lines and dots. I had no clue. I still don’t fully get it. But she tried.
Mrs. Carr will have a special place in heaven for walking me through ADHD and how to help my son. I was a mess and she was not. She listened to me cry and then rejoiced with me when his reading and math skills soared on treatment.
Mrs. Cole managed a class light on students but super full of boys, including mine, with so much grace that I was sure she was an angel. I’m so thankful for her peaceful way.
Ms. Moffett had both my kids and is always a name that comes up when we talk about fun teachers. She is one of the bubbliest, kindest, loving teachers…and she read my kids a book about a gorilla that made them both come home and cry. Books that make you feel that deeply are a gift. Thank you, Ms. Moffett.
Mrs. Robinson and Mrs. McClurg got us through 4th grade math. Can you tell that I have a TON of gratitude for math teachers? I do. And I always will.
Ms. Cape pushed both of my kids to be deeper thinkers and to write words that have meaning and feeling. That skill came much easier for one of my kids but she still pushed the other. Writing words, that’s also precious to me, so I’m forever thankful for the encouragement she gave my kids.
And then there is Mrs. Meskill, Mrs. Istre, and Mrs. McGrath. They were the ones tasked with readying my kids for middle school. The last of a long line of special teachers who built them up over the years, preparing them mentally and emotionally to take the next step. They are the momma birds who finally push them out of the nest and yell, “FLY! YOU KNOW HOW!” because they’ve been practicing all year.
I’ve been saying I wouldn’t be emotional at the end of 5th grade. I’ve been saying I’m ready to be done with elementary school. And that’s mostly true. But as I think back to the last 8 years and all the memories built in, I can’t help but tear up a bit. So much love, so much energy, so much time has been poured into my kids. These teachers have given the best of themselves so my kids could be the best of themselves.
And for that, I am eternally grateful.