I woke up today to the heartbreaking news about a former family. There were two years in a row where I only spent one year on each campus. One might think I was there too briefly to make any connections, but of course, any educator knows that isn’t true. Each staff spent a year being a part of my family, and all of those students were who I spent my days with. It’s impossible not to build relationships. We were connected, albeit briefly.
This family, in particular, not only stood out because of her sweet 1st grader, but also b/c of her precious soon to be kindergartener. That baby girl was dressed to the 9’s each and every time I saw her, no jammy days for her! As a girl mom, 🙂 this was always so impressive to me! I left before she became a student, but I ran into the momma every now and then, and we were facebook friends, so ya know, only as far away as a picture comment. I even ordered tee shirts from her for my office staff this past Halloween. We were still connected.
Hearing that her sweet baby girl was killed in a car accident yesterday has just devastated me. I am sad for her family. I am sad for her school. I am sad for her principal, her teacher, her classmates. I am sad that she won’t be a first grader. I am sad that that mom woke up today having to remember that news. I am sad.
What we do…it’s living life with people. It’s going to baseball games, it’s going to the hospital when they are sick. It’s sending cookies when there’s a broken limb. These are things I do, not because I want to Instagram them, but because I genuinely LOVE these Wolves. I had a parent this year thank me for loving her kids like they were mine…but they kind of are, ya’ll. My role is committing to being there, for not just their academic needs, but also their emotional ones. I want to be remembered because I cared, but more importantly I want them to FEEL that I care, now. I sent a post card last year to all 667 of them. Not because I had to, but because I want them to know I know their name, that I care about each one of them. I recognize my role in preparing students for their future, but we have to remember that our present is pretty darn important too. It fills our days with more joy than a regular “business” person could possibly imagine, but it can also bring us to our knees. I don’t know how to lead without forming these connections…and I don’t think I am supposed to, but today’s like today, hurt.
Value your connections, friends. We are blessed to spend our days seeing the present version of who they are, and dreaming about all that they can become. Of course, we all abide by the notion that once you’ve been “my student”, you’ll always be “my student”. The fragility of our relationships is never felt quite as much as in moments like this. Know that you are spending time with our communities future. You are modeling what a caring, involved, invested adult looks like in the lives of our students. You are connected.
Hug your babies tonight. Life can change in an instant.