That would be my view from high school graduation this morning!
Many of my colleagues today were like “Why are you at work today when you could be home with your babies?? That’s some dedication!”
And, I was all “Hell no, I’d much rather be here sitting in sweltering swamp Florida heat pretending to catch anatomically correct blow up dolls from the field! Do you think bars are open this early? I might stop at one to get a celebratory drink on the way home, just cause I can, Sucka!”
Ok, I didn’t say that, but I did think about stopping to get some wine or even a shower somewhere all by myself where there is no crying or needy children. I opted for a quick trip to Publix, instead to grab things I actually needed. I know. Mommy guilt.
Whoa! The point has gotten away from me (must be the jumbo coffee I treated myself to his morning on the way to school…I’m finding it hard to focus).
The point is that today was graduation and I came to see my kids graduate. Honestly, I will never miss a graduation unless I absolutely have to. There really is nothing more satisfying than watching those 14 yr old babies all grown up after 4 years and grabbing their diplomas knowing that you helped them get there somehow. It was awesome. And I almost cried about 6 times…
Once when I saw some of the kids that started their freshman orientation/high school career in my homeroom class. Are they grown up already? How is that possible?? One of them was literally sobbing on his way down the field cause he was so damn happy. This same fun spirited boy stopped by my classes to see me even after he moved on to the next grades to check up on me. *tear*
Then there was my student who had crazy problems no kids should ever have to deal with….the one we weren’t sure would qualify to graduate until the very last minute. She ran up to give me a hug to let me know she was happy I could be there to watch her walk. *sniffle*
Then I saw another one of my freshman babies who also happens to have down syndrome. She was in all of my elective classes. It wasn’t easy but I was able to bribe her into doing work with High School Musical references and song and dance. I have a book of nursery rhymes with her signature that she gave me when I was pregnant with Jamie. She was so happy to tell me today that she was going to college now! *hiccup*
I can’t forget the saved seat and the green ribbons the ENTIRE class wore on their robes in memory of a classmate who lost his life earlier in the school year. His sister (also one of my students for two years) walked across the stage to get his diploma in his place . *silent sob*
And finally, just seeing how happy and grateful all those kids were to have accomplished something so big as high school graduation- the final stepping stone into ultimate freedom. I am fortunate (usually) to have my students for 4 full years! It is such a pleasure to see them get to this point. It’s a reminder to me that no matter how good or bad the year went, I do something important! *smile*
In closing I will leave you with this email I received from one of my students right as I went on maternity leave. May this be written in the infinite Internet stone so that I will never forget that I do something important (as well as countless others, my peers included) even if it is not always appreciated by lawmakers and the kind.
Congratulations Tarpon High class of 2012!!
I am honestly going to miss you so much. I have been a student of yours since i came to this state. I have learned so much from you. You have helped me with so much, and has understood everything i have told you. Words cant even explain how much you influence me and mean to me. I hope everything goes well with your baby boy. You are beautiful inside and out and you are a great teacher! I know your an amazing mother and you are an amazing person.Thank you for everything you have delt with, with me lol as well as all the things you have taught me. I know i will graduate and go far in life. You have made it possible for me to teach kids and want to continue with teaching kids. Overall i wanted you to know how much i appreciate you and everything you do. i will miss you so much and hope to see you soon as well as your beautiful children. :))