Last night, we had the privilege of watching our oldest son graduate… from preschool. 🙂 He attended Lighthouse Christian Preschool, and we have nothing but good things to say about the staff and the program there.
He learned to write his name, and even though it looks more like a piece of abstract art, I love it! This photo was taken after his first week of school: He wrote left-handed, and backwards.
This is a project he made during the last week of school. As the year went on, his “signature” was always written in a circular formation, regardless of the amount of room he had to write it.
The kids learned Zoo Phonics, and studied everything from sea creatures to community helpers. They took a field trip to the pumpkin patch in the fall, and the fire station in the spring. They had a Super Bowl party for the dads, and a Hoedown for the moms. They had jobs (line leader, table washer, prayer leader, etc.), learned to crack eggs, and got to ride bikes and play on an awesome playground. They were prayed for and encouraged by their teachers, and loved unconditionally.
At graduation, we were treated to a video of all the photos taken throughout the year. It was a precious glimpse of the activities we didn’t get to see while they were away from home. Then they called each child by name to cross the stage, hug their teachers, and receive a certificate, a memory book containing the photos from the video, and a copy of the video itself (YAY!!!).
After the ceremony, we had a little dessert and let the kiddos run around for a while. I didn’t get sad until we were walking back to the car, and Teacher Janine walked toward us. Ryder was afraid he’d forgotten something, and she teased him, saying “YES! You forgot to give me one last hug!” She knelt down, hugged and kissed him, and told him she’d miss him.
It was then that I finally got a little teary. Not because I’m sad that my baby is growing up… I’m sure I’ll miss him being this age when his taller than me, and has a deep voice and a hairy face. I’m sad because there’s no way to adequately express how grateful I am that these women cared for my baby as if he was their own. They nurtured him, and forgave him, and encouraged him, and taught him, and guided him, laughed with him, and prayed for him, and “thank you” just doesn’t seem big enough. They were the hands and feet of Jesus for my son, and have left an indelible mark on his life. I’m sure they’re not the last teachers who will have this effect… but they were the first. And we were blessed by them.
It feels a little funny to have that kind of reaction because “in my former life” I was a teacher. I’ve taught everything from preschool to third grade, and I know what it’s like to be in their shoes. To be surrounded by other people’s children all day long for many months, and watch them grow and succeed (and sometimes fail). I know what it’s like to love them like crazy, and want nothing but the best for their lives, even though I may never see them again. But it’s different to be on the receiving end of all that love, and apparently it’ll take a little getting used to. At any rate, I’m grateful.
Next stop… KINDERGARTEN! Watch out Big Valley Lions, Ryder’s on his way!