I love you for lots of reasons.
I love you because you sucked your thumb until 2nd grade.
I love you because all of my best memories include you.
I love you because you love my family.
I love you because you ARE family.
I love you because you brought DP to all the parties in HS while the rest of us were drinking Fuzzy Navels.
I love you because you are kind and generous.
I love you because you giggle at the same dumb things I do.
I could go on and on and on. I could never stop writing all the things that make me so thankful to have you as my best-friend. But today, I want to focus on one thing.
I love you because you are a teacher.
You always have been.
You taught me how to believe in myself when I thought I needed a boy to prove my worth.
You taught me to speak gently when I wanted to scream.
You taught me to clap in church.
And you have taught countless others one million different things.
You've always been a teacher. A gifted, giving, thoughtful, loving, compassionate, teacher.
And I am so grateful for you.
I'll never forget your first classroom. We spent hours brainstorming ideas on how you wanted to set everything up - perfecting every detail as if you were creating a space for your first-born child, when really, you were preparing for 24 "first kids". That reading loft was amazing. The picket fence shelves and rocking chair that I wanted you to have. The rugs and decor - I remember everything so vividly as you prepared for those first kids.
The first kids you taught to read.
The first kids you helped discover science.
The first kids you taught math.
Those stories stuck with me. The sweet kids. The smart kids. The silly kids.
But the hard kids. The hard kids you don't get enough credit for. The kids that weren't fed at home, so they came to school angry. The kids society would tell us to dismiss or give up on because they were hopeless. The kids that had hard beginnings.
The one student with cancer. We cried over that child. That child that you loved and nurtured. The child you held and prayed over. The child that you made sure was as normal as one can be.
You loved those kids. Each and every one of them.
You still do.
I know, because I hear you talk about them to this day. Your first class that has now graduated high school. The pride you reveal in telling their stories.
So, best-friend. Thank you.
Thank you for taking care of our future.
Thank you for being a light.
Thank you for showing other educators the way.
Thank you for every wiped nose and mended knee.
Thank you for caring not just about how well these children do on a test but what kind of people they will be for society.
Thank you for answering my questions as a first-time parent with a first-time school-aged kid.
Thank you for your extended hours.
Thank you for your personal investment (time, talent and treasure).
You are important.
You are building our future.
You are changing lives.
You are building bridges.
You are underpaid and overworked.
Yet you never complain. Because you are committed to your work. You are called to serve. And I am ever-so-grateful for you.
Yours is an uphill battle but you are equipped with weapons beyond compare. The gift of patience. The gift of understanding. The gift of compassion. The gift of love.
My life would not be the same without teachers like you.
Fight the good fight. Your voice will carry far beyond the years you spend in those hallowed halls. Children will become teenagers who become adults who will quote you. They will think of you. They will want to make you proud.
Because you aren't just their teacher for a year.
You are a teacher for life.