day 276: having a moment

When nobody was around I cried.  Just for a few minutes.  I held it together while I was stealing the last hug and giving the last sticker, but after they pulled away from the curb, and my technicians were gone, I had a moment.

A few times during class this week, my little princess said, I don't want to to go home.  Mommy doesn't play with me.  I will miss you, Miss Karen.  The last time she said it today I said, I will miss you too.  Then I quickly got busy doing something else because my heart was breaking, a little crack at a time.

 signing the word "special" for our program
photo by Luann Hawker at

This school year has not been without it's struggles.  One student can throw a pretty mean go-ahead-and-take-every-privlidge-away-I-don't-care-because-my-dad-has-already-given-me-money kind of tantrum.  The heels dig in, the face gets red, and the threats fly about how he is going to run away from school and never come back.  I still love that kid. I don't still love him because I am angel.  And I don't love him because I am obligated to, even though sometimes that is a good enough reason.  I love him because somehow, in this job, I have been granted a little extra portion, so that I can see the whole child, including his circumstances, as a little package of potential and squishy goodness.  No matter what.  And I am certain my technicians would say the same thing.

So on this last day of school, in my first year of special ed teaching, I was a little caught up short on how much it actually hurt to say goodbye.  I have been the student.  I have been blessed.  I have fallen in love.


CHERRANNE | May 22, 2010 at 12:30 AM

Kaz-You really aren't saying good-bye in a lot of ways, though. You have made some Solid and Permanent connections with these little Gems. Awwwwwwww...I know the sting of not having them in class anymore-in that setting at that age....They are so dear and sweet..Bless You for all that You do, Kaz. You are a total role model, My Friend. :)

Dona | May 22, 2010 at 12:57 AM

I love the photo. I have wanted to see you in your element. What you have given and gained plus what those children have given and gained is the perfect example of a symbiotic relationship. I'm glad you had a good year. Cherranne is correct, you are a total role model.

Rachel Cotterill | May 22, 2010 at 7:00 AM

Is it a residential school where you teach, then? I'm sure they will always remember being in your class.

Connie | May 22, 2010 at 8:05 AM

The hardest part about saying good-bye is knowing we won't see them in their school setting again since they're all going to different home schools.
Well done, Miss Karen, on your first year of teaching those special kids!

Lara Neves | May 22, 2010 at 8:28 AM

OH, my heart broke a little for that little girl, too. :(

Good-byes are so hard when you've made a relationship like this.

val of the south | May 22, 2010 at 10:07 AM

I loved this on so many levels. Thanks for reminding me.

Kimberly Vanderhorst | May 22, 2010 at 1:52 PM

I think my heart just cracked a little FOR you. You have written so often of your experiences with those precious children you've been blessed to work with, and so while I can only imagine, I can imagined VIVIDLY how it might be to say goodbye to them.

wendy | May 22, 2010 at 2:10 PM

classrooms need more teachers like you --ONE WHO HAS ROOM FOR LOVE

do you know sign language? I used to be pretty good at it. When I lived in British Columbia, one of my best friends there was deaf, and she taught me, and we "talked" every day. It was awesome.

Charlotte | May 23, 2010 at 5:13 PM

I always pray for teachers that can love my children (even the more difficult ones). You sound like exactly what I pray for. Enjoy the summer break!

Luann | May 25, 2010 at 12:27 PM