It's the end of the school year. The weather is warm, book bags are empty, and students are itching for that last bell to ring. Parents everywhere are scrambling to write thank-you notes and deliver gifts to the teachers who worked tirelessly all year.
I am no exception. This time of year is like the Christmas rush for me. With so many teachers to thank, I end up spending a week each June shopping for presents, craft supplies and gift cards. This year I made five DIY gifts – one for each of the special ladies teaching the first grade. I stayed up all night yesterday snipping, gluing, assembling and wrapping personalized goodies.
I groggily packed them into my car this morning, and delivered them all to school along with some floral arrangements. My heart ached with each gift and each goodbye hug I gave out. I left the school heavy-hearted, empty-handed and alone. It felt like I had just been through a bad break-up. It always does. The start of summer vacation is bittersweet for me.
How can you just walk away from a relationship with someone who has been responsible for your child for 10 months? Given my son's special needs, I rely on his teachers to be my eyes and ears in the classroom. They shape him, guide him, advocate for him and help him overcome his challenges when I can’t. They become my partner, working with me daily through phone calls, notes and meetings to make sure his needs are met in order for him to succeed. Then summer arrives, and it's suddenly over.
The weeks until September are long. Worries swirl through my head. Will his next teacher be as supportive as the last? How easily will my son adapt to him/her? Will he/she be willing to communicate openly with me regarding his progress and needs?
And when autumn finally rolls around, a new relationship begins. Bonds are steadily formed. And the pain from the last breakup slowly fades. Yet the memories of those wonderful teachers are never forgotten.