Thursday, May 11, 2017

Kaden Harris

The pictures his mommy took during
Teacher Appreciation Week.

For a few years now Mommy has tried to do better with balancing school and home.  It's not always easy.  Often Mommy feels like a novice at both at the end of the day. Patience seems easier to come by at school more so than home on some occasions, but at the end of the day, Mommy feels optimistic that no matter what everyone knows they're loved. Splitting Mommy's time, energy, and passion between school kids and Mommy's own hasn't always been easy.  One way Mommy has been able to do this is by going in to school one night a week after bedtime to play catch-up.

.   .   .

A few months ago Mommy did just that.  After I tucked your little sis Layne in to sleep for the night Mommy slipped on her sketchers and rushed off to school to get a few things done.  Mommy loves having the quiet and being surrounded with school made it easier to think about all the things I needed to get done before the next week.  Somehow this became easier than bringing mounds and mounds of work home each afternoon.  But this Thursday night would be a little different.

After grading some papers, calculating Oh Snap points, filling out reading logs for the week ahead, and who knows what else, Mommy went on to the next item on the to-do list:  Art to Remember.

Art to Remember is a sweet activity students at Mommy's school do each year with the help of the art teacher.  Students draw, color, or paint a picture that would be sent off to a publisher who would then turn it in to keepsakes for a child's family.  Eventually students get the original back and the mugs, magnets, and bags make great gifts.  The most important way to make it look its best is to have it outlined and use lots of color.

On this particular night Mommy had it on her to-do list as a favor to help the art teacher.  Most students from Mommy's class needed more time to finish adding color and outlining.  Mommy had planned for students to finish them the next morning as part of their morning work.  On the back of each picture was the student's first name and to help keep track of which class they were in the art teacher had them write the teacher's last name.

Mommy walked around the quiet of the room with the stack of artwork upside down so as to see the name of the little artist who produced it on the back.  After reading the name on the back Mommy would flip it over to admire the original artwork for a moment, and then place it on the student's desk.  Mommy worked through the stack quickly as there were many other things to do that night. But as Mommy got to one in particular, it stopped me in my tracks and brought tears to my eyes.

Mommy's student added the sunshine to his
picture the next morning.
In the upper left hand corner Mommy's eyes were drawn. There it was.  In pencil, in the precious handwriting of an eight year old, and with the spacing just right so as if it were written to go together, it read your precious name Kaden Harris.  Just like the art teacher had asked, the child wrote his first name and the last name of his teacher.

Tears immediately welled up in Mommy's eyes.  Mommy sighed.  Mommy admired. So this is what your name might have looked like if you had ever been able to grow up Mommy thought.  The tears streamed down. Mommy held that piece of artwork a little longer, gave it a hug, and placed it on the student's desk.

The moment that night was bittersweet.  Mommy loved this moment of thinking about what you might have been like as a second grader.

As time went on Mommy shared this sweet moment with the child's mother, who happened to also be a teacher at Mommy's school. Hoping that it wouldn't come across as bizarre that Mommy would find something sweet in something as simple as a handwritten name, Mommy told the story of your name. Tears welled up again in Mommy's eyes and her's, too.

.   .   .

A few weeks ago Mommy received a precious gift.  Inside a monogrammed bag was the most treasured piece of artwork ever given to Mommy by a student.  Mommy has no idea if this child knows the story behind what makes his art so special to me.  All Mommy knows is that it will be treasured forever.
The artwork is on our fridge next to
Layne's school picture. 

This is the time of year when Mommy gets overwhelmed.  It's usually because of the million and one things that have to be done. This time, though, Mommy is overwhelmed with a grateful heart. Mommy's thankful for your memory, for the blessing of this child in my class, and for his mother who gave me permission to share.

Love you, miss you sweet girl.