I was all prepared to be sarcastically funny about how we are coming in hot – real hot – to summertime at Team Whitaker. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through four class parties in less than 45 minutes yesterday.
Amazingly, I did.
But it was what happened after all that crazy that rocked me deep.
Important disclaimer here. I love, adore and respect all my kids’ class room moms. They are flat out amazing. But it is a gift I do not possess and I will be the first to admit that class parties – Christmas, end-of-year, and otherwise – really stress me out. So, add that stress to a really difficult past few months here at the house and I was feeling like summer should’ve begun months ago.
We finished all the class parties. Heyyyyy summer. And I could taste freedom. Will, my high school freshman, had about a half hour between his dismissal and all the parties at the kids’ school. I got Gianna down for a nap, a movie started for everyone else at home and headed back to school to get Will and go say goodbye to a beloved teacher. She is retiring and in all the hullabaloo I had not made it over to her room to give her a proper farewell hug.
To know Mrs. C is to love her. And that is no exaggeration. You know that person, the one everyone absolutely adores because they are so full of light and love and positivity and goodness? That is our beloved second grade teacher. She taught three of my children (Will just missed her by a year when we changed schools). Every thing I have ever heard others say about her is positive, gushing, full of light. It was a privilege to witness it myself. She’s that teacher my kids will talk about with their children and grandchildren. And, if I’m being honest, I will, too. It was an honor to have her love my children.
And, boy, did she love them.
The tears started to well up before we even hugged. There was so much to say, yet we knew it didn’t need to be. In the middle of that beautiful hug, she whispered, “Go, have a beautiful life.”
Go, have a beautiful life.
Those words have echoed in my heart, deep in the recesses, ever since. I cannot lie. Life has had its challenges. Doesn’t every household? It has brought me to my knees in desperation and prayer in ways I did not believe possible. It’s easy to love, but man is it hard to come face-to-face with your faults as a person.
Yet, when I heard her words they were like a balm to my weary soul. Go, have a beautiful life reminded me just how much I’m going to miss her witness and her presence. The second grade hallway will never be the same. I had to hold in my sobs because I could feel them brewing. In the hard moments of life, I believe God sends us life preservers.
Today, I heard mine loud and clear.
“Go, have a beautiful life,” He said.
And so I shall.
Mrs. C, I pray you do the same. May retirement be full of joy, time with grandchildren and lots of precious memories. You’ve certainly given us more than our fair share.