Today was the sixth grade graduation celebration at the elementary school in my neighborhood. I teach on Tuesday mornings, so I don't get to see the kids walking to school. But yesterday when I walked, Mary the crossing guard handed me a folded piece of paper from Kayla… An invitation to today's events!
Have to say it felt a little strange going into the school, being a woman with no children. But if Kayla wanted me there, I'd be there. I greeted Mary, and she stopped traffic for me to cross the street for the first time!
I checked in at the office and provided my drivers license in exchange for a visitor sticker, then had to ask for help to find the breakfast. A nice woman directed me there, and pointed out Kayla, who was sitting with her back towards me.
I walked up behind her and sat down next to her, fully unprepared for her reaction. The look on her face when she turned and saw me was absolutely priceless. She exclaimed, "You came!" And for the next hour, I found myself barely able to fight back tears. Totally wasn't expecting the deluge of emotion!
After breakfast, they showed a 30 minute video beginning with each kid's photos: a baby picture, and then a current picture, set to the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun". That nearly destroyed me. Made me realize how many of these kids I've met, and how quickly they're all growing up. Then there were pictures from kindergarten all the way up to the field day that was held yesterday. I had talked with a bunch of the kids as they were walking to school in their athletic clothes, all excited for the day's events—so it was fun to catch a glimpse.
In case any Pawnee Elementary parents are reading this, let me just say: you have a great bunch of kids, and I've really grown to love them! It has been a fun and unexpected privilege to become a small part of your family. Congratulations on their graduation.
Don't even get me started about how tomorrow is the last day I'm going to see these sixth graders. And the last day I will see Mary until school starts in the fall.
Ah geez, I seem to have something in my eye again.