Friday, May 29, 2009

Parting Parties

Today was the last day of the May session at ECC. In Kindergarten, it meant we were concluding the first textbook, and I'm just amazed at how much my kids absorbed. The final chapter was about parties and reviewing other material (pets, numbers, etc.). In my imaginary world, I envisioned a grand party for my kids, helping them remember important vocabulary such as friends, cake, presents, and cards. We made going-away cards for one of the little girls who is moving--Anna. She was a quiet one, and walked to the beat of her own drummer for sure. While everyone else colored their bear brown, Anna colored hers rainbow. She's also the little girl who thought she was a boy for the first week, and a book for the second. I hope she does well in her new school.

For the party, I wrapped thirty-two presents, taking care for each of the little matchbox cars so the rear-view mirrors didn't poke through the paper, that all of the wires for the sketchbooks weren't sharp, and that all of the bows were put on prettily. As I spent the four hours doing this, I realized that all the effort would be wasted on them, but that I wanted to do it anyway. I really think this year has been an extraordinary experiment in how a child's love can heal and bring out the best in a person.

It was successful--only slightly less wonderful than Disney World--and the boys played with their cars the rest of the day, which was a lot of fun to observe. When I used to watch wondering, what on earth are they thinking?, I find myself wishing I had a 9th toy to get in there with them.

This afternoon I had a final class with some kids I inherited from Kevin. Matt, who has been at ECC longer than all but two teachers, is moving to another part of town or something, and won't be coming to ECC anymore. So. Sad. He's so much fun. He's the one who asked for my autograph.

As I write this, I remember my grandmother and her relationship with George Winston. She was his 2nd grade teacher or something, and they've continued a friendship long since. She still goes to his concerts when he passes through Montana and catches up with him. I know how big of a room I have in my heart for my past teachers, and I know how fiercely I love my students. Some of them probably feel the same, and I'll be remembered long after I go. I'm glad I could sneak in memories of presents and cake beforehand.

Tonight is my test in taekwondo. I haven't been the last two days because I can't wear my contacts. I'm trying to decide whether to go; I'm pretty sure I'll pass according to their standards, but I'm equally as sure that I'll fail according to my own. So it comes to a point where I wonder, is it really my eyes I'm trying to protect, or is it my ego? I'm testing out my contacts, though, to see if I can make it through an hour or two before getting my glasses back on. Stay tuned...

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