A Day of Good-Byes

The last day of school is always a bittersweet day for me. In my department, we tend to work with the kids all through out their elementary years. I always tend to form an emotional attachment to most of them.

There was the boy who reminded me of Bear. If I could have adopted him, I would. He had no reason being in our department, but because of emotional issues, he was.

There was the sweet girl who was so thoughtful and caring. She always remembered our birthdays. She would bring back gifts when she went on vacation. She even came back to the school this year to give us a Christmas treat.

And this year, oh this year. There's my boy who has autism. I have worked on & off with him since kindergarten. Always quick with a smile, offering his snack & chair to me. Some days I could get him to work hard and other days I had to give him a hard time about his work. I about lost it when saying good-bye, he looked me in the eye (and if you know anything about autism, you know that's huge) and told me that he'd miss me. I know that those are just words to him. But, I also know that that part of him that is aware, meant those words. He will be missed maybe a tad bit more than the other kids who have passed in and out of my life.

There was also a sweet girl I did not service. She was quirky, punky, but oh so caring. It never mattered to her if she was partnered with one of my kids. And she made them feel like they were equal partners. She never excluded any of them.

This year I also had to say good-bye to a special friend of mine. We were partners in crime when I first started working at the school. We worked side by side for three years until she moved into the general ed. side. She is a passionate teacher and Bear was lucky to have her in 4th grade. She has a new baby now and will stay home with him. It's not a forever good-bye as we will always be friends. But, it will be sad to not see her in the hallways next year.

Bear's 5th grade teacher is also moving on to bigger pastures. I'm not sure what it is about Bear that makes all his teachers leave. ;) His kindergarten teacher is the only teacher who remains. He was extremely quiet in her class. Maybe that's why.

The hardest good-bye was to my Bear. It was hard when Lamb left, but I knew I had many years left with Bear. It's been the two of us for four years now. Yes, yes, I know I live with him. I know I see him every day. But, I still get choked up thinking about not seeing him in the hallways. Not being a part of his world: knowing his curriculum, knowing his students, just knowing what exactly is going on, seeing him grow & thrive. We are close and part of the reason we are close is because when he talks to me, I know who & what he is talking about. I don't want to lose that. So, I'll have to work extra hard to remain part of his world.A hard day, indeed.

And then there is this morning. Bear has a wicked headache. He's laying on the couch and asked me to tuck him in with his blanket. Maybe things won't change too first.


furiousBall said...

hope bear's noggin feels better soon

forgetfulone said...

Bittersweet memories. That is HUGE for an autistic kiddo. I know you will miss him. And Bear. Things will be different at school. Why must they grow up? He's such a cute boy.

Library Girl said...

What a wonderful picture! I completely understand the bittersweet-ness... but it's so wonderful anyway! :)

Debbie said...

Great photo of Bear.
All of those goodbyes are so sad. I so understand.

Tootie said...

Awe, that is sad. But, I hope you soon feel like enjoying your summer.

Patois said...

So sad, sad, sad. They're growing up. It's hard to let them keep growing.

The McCrays said...

I love this post. Remember way back-when when you worked with us in kinder.? That was a fun year! I'm glad you've had such a strong relationship with your students. I'm sure they'll miss you, too! And, it WILL be hard without Bear there. I love the photo of him in his school chair, although I think he would look much better wearing maroon! :)

kris said...

sweet post. enjoy your summer! see you later! really cute pic of Bear by the way!

Jenny86753oh9 said...

Gulp...(can't seem to swallow that cotton ball in my throat!)

(Sidenote: guess where I'll be in February? Not in Missouri....)