kindergarten teachers

my mom and i talked several weeks ago about our common tendency to believe people are disappointed in us. or perhaps even that they simply don’t like us. before the kids arrived for their graduation this afternoon, i was physically nervous. after a little self-check i realized i was concerned they wouldn’t care i had come to see them. perhaps they wouldn’t remember me…or perhaps they’d never noticed i was even there in the first place. seems irrational – sure. but i didn’t like admitting to myself that my feelings would be hurt if they weren’t as excited to see me as i was to see them. when i left the neighborhood school in l.a. my kindergarteners hugged me, but they certainly weren’t torn up about it.

i couldn’t have asked for a better welcome. as they individually arrived their faces lit up, they ran to me from the door, hugged me, told me all the things they’d been “waiting” to tell me.  dayton even said, “calais…you should have come back before now. you should have come back before graduation. i wanted you to come to my house and play dsi. i had a lot much to tell you.”whew! now if those aren’t grown-up thoughts. it was as if he was saying, “calais…you blew it. you should have been here.” and while i don’t feel guilty, necessarily, i do feel disappointed. i did miss out. these kids mean more to me than even i know. and i think i meant a lot to them – more than i have had the confidence to admit. when nicholas hugged me he squeezed hard…and then when i thought he was going to let go he simply relaxed and slumped into my embrace and laid there for several poignant moments while i just held him…before he finally stood up and quietly said, “i missed you.” one of the many moments i fought tears today.

the class has never been one of performers, but today they sang their hearts out. tears streamed down my face as they sang the rainbow connection.  i giggled as they danced to whip-it (hugo’s surprise). my heart melted as they recited a poem they wrote with iranetta. man, these kids are special.

after the ceremony they pulled everyone together to announce the “big surprise” they’d been hinting at for the whole week. after several guesses as to what the surprise might be, someone slowly announced, “nope…it’s not a pony…BUT…tomorrow….we’re aaaallll…..going toooooo…..DISNEYLAND!!!!!!”


the kids looked around blankly until several seconds later all the parents started clapping and saying, “yeahhhhh!!!!!” it was priceless. they were completely unimpressed. not because they don’t want to go to disneyland…but because the incredible thing about kids is their ability to be present. if it’s not happening now it’s not real. tomorrow they’ll be psyched to run around disney together, but today it doesn’t make sense because it’s not happening. i realized that’s what happened when i left. they didn’t get it. they weren’t sad because they didn’t understand that ‘moving to colorado’ meant i wouldn’t be back. i feel like i need to go back to kindergarten in more ways than one. these 5 year olds are the best teachers i’ve ever known.

i can’t wait to go to disney with them tomorrow.


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Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.
-Kahlil Gibran

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