When I saw my friend Becky's post of Facebook, suggesting we plan something fun to commemorate the special moment of 9:10 on 11/12/13, my mind went into high gear! What to do? What to do?
The last time I had celebrated a cool date and time was my last year of teaching. My fifth grade class will be the high school graduation class of 2020, such a cool number, and I had shared my love of repetitive numbers and number patterns with them on many occasions. When I realized that we could celebrate 12:12 on 12/12/12, I was all over it! We grabbed the calendar and took the clock off the wall, and we took a picture. Never mind that we discovered I had a clock with lazy hands. Trust me; it was 12:12, not 11:13. Dumb clock. We had it replaced immediately after this picture was taken!
I knew what I wanted to do to celebrate, but would I be welcomed by this year's teacher? I knew I would. Mrs. Keisel is always good for a celebration!
When I arrived at the middle school, the principal was sitting on the bench outside his office. Now I felt a little sheepish. He and I had been teaching colleagues for 15 years. He would probably think I was being silly, but he is a good friend. After a little congenial teasing, I scurried off to find my now 6th graders.
The class was so quiet; I hardly dared to disturb them. When I caught Mrs. Keisel's eye, she waved me in. My kids looked so grown up. They were still so well-behaved, and on-task. "Let me just stand here, and look at you," I told them. My eyes started on the right hand side with Lia, beautiful Lia, and scanned across the room. Damien was grinning from ear-to-ear. He was wearing glasses. How handsome he looked. All the way on the left was Michayla. She seemed to squirm with excitement.
Before I knew it, Mrs. Keisel had thrown a Zumba DVD on the projection screen, kids were pushing their chairs out of the way, and we had an impromptu dance party. The kids are learning a dance for the upcoming Christmas program, a local tradition. While the kids danced, I walked from child to child, calling each by name, and giving them a hug. After about a dozen hugs, I put my purse and camera on my shoulder, and started doing Zumba with them.
The door to the hall opened, and a line of kids, lead by Bo, was coming straight back to me. "I want a hug! I want a hug!" Yep, that's Bo. He's a hugger, too. I was surrounded by more of my kids while Mrs. Keisel gathered all of my little chickens from the other classrooms. Pretty soon, we had a big old party happening right there in 6th grade. All the time, I kept one eye on the clock. Some of the kids were noticing, too. We started making our way to the doorway. Just before 9:10, we had the kids gather under the clock, and I started taking pictures. They looked so much older. And taller. This time next year, I won't be leaning down to be in their pictures. After we took a few shots of the class with the clock, I had Mrs. Keisel take some pictures of us as a group, and she took some of the hugfest that continued for awhile longer.
While my homeroom was lined up at the back of the room, she told them to sing their song. There's a song? I thought. These kids were always singing with iPods or YouTube videos when I had them. "You know a song?" A few of the voices started in tentatively. Other voices joined theirs.
I recognized the song at once. It's the One Direction song that I loved from last year. "That's What Makes You Beautiful." They were singing a song for me. How could this day get any better?
|Mrs Keisel was concentrating on the Zumba instruction on the screen. My boys were trying to keep up!|
My boys were there. My three wonderful boys. Seth marched right up with a big grin on his face. "May I give you a hug?" He came in closer, and just grinned. He was fascinated by an Avengers DVD box he was holding; I was thrilled he paid any attention to me at all! When Adam saw me, he pushed through the crowd. "Adam! I have missed you. Have you been to the Philippines?" He gave me a one word answer. "Yes." I hugged him, and we had our pictures taken.
Calvin just wanted to know about our class fish. I finally broke the news to him. "Calvin, Elvis died."
"Yes, but I'm going to get a new fish. And I hear YOU have a fish at home named Elvis now, too."
Oh, my sweet Calvin. Always wanting to talk about Elvis. He let me take his picture on my way out of school. He is so full of innocence, and love. You'll never meet a happier child.
As I got ready to go, I received a few more hugs. It's so awesome that 12 year olds aren't too old for hugs. They're not too cool to tell someone they miss them. They aren't so aloof that they hide their feelings. These kids will always be special to me. There is a bond we formed last year that will last for a very long time.
My brief visit was so full of love, and laughter, and hugs. These children bring so much joy wherever they go. It's hard not to miss them. Don't get me wrong; I don't miss going to work. I just miss the good people with whom I spent every school day. They are very good people, indeed.
|Austin and Talmagge|
|Adam still has a special friend in Bo.|
|Nash has always been a protector and friend to Adam, and especially, Calvin.|
|My boy Damien. He just seemed to beam the whole time I was there.|
|Brinlei, Taylor, Michayla, Marnee...such awesome kids!|
|Brailey, Bo, Brinlei and Taylor|
|Maddie is always getting everyone to show the love.|
|They did a great job singing "That's What Makes You Beautiful." Love the actions!|
|Adam, so tall, and as handsome as ever.|
|I adopted Madison as one of my own last year.|
|Austin and Brooklyn, peas in a pod.|
|Had to get my Lilly loves.|
|Seth, Talmage, and Aubri.|
|Elise gets a hug, while Kenzie waits her turn.|
|My beautiful Kenz.|
|What? Another hug from Bo? ;-)|
|Good old Ethan!|
|So glad Jett and Jaden haven't gotten too old for hugs!|
|Mr. Nash, my right-hand man.|