Today, the last school day of 2007, turned out to be one of those days.
When I woke up I didn't think it would be such a nice day. In fact, I think I mentioned something to Mrs. Frech that it might be about the opposite. I told her that I might muddle through this day. I knew that I'd be sleep deprived.
Late last night I drove to the San Jose airport to pick up my daughter, Elizabeth. She's home for the holidays. By the time we got to bed it was past 1:00. (For you faithful blog readers this is why I did not post yesterday: I was driving down Interstate 580 at night in the rain.)
This morning I awoke groggy and grumpy after 4 hours of sleep. But the morning immediately brightened.
Yesterday's stormy weather had cleared out overnight and the day dawned bright, crisp, and clear. The drive to school was — oh! — so lovely.
Fred showed up unexpectedly to sing harmony for our holiday songs. (This being the last day of kindergarten before the holiday, I forgot that today was Thursday; I was happily surprised when Fred came through the door with his guitar case in hand.)
Another happy surprise: Isabella returned to visit us for a day. How we have missed Isabella since her family moved out of state because of her dad's immanent wartime deployment overseas. It was nice to see Isabella again. I always feel a loss when a member of our class moves away.
After table time, we went next door to visit Santa Claus. He came to us to ask what one thing each child wants most for Christmas.
After our visit with Santa, we went back to the kindergarten room to write about our visit with him.
The students did all the work of sounding these words out so I could write them down.
We ran a lap, had recess, washed hands, sang our thanks, and enjoyed a wonderful snack that Will brought us. Look at Daven's plate of goldfish crackers.
I unwrapped many thoughtful gifts and heard and read many heartwarming messages. Expressions of gratitude mean more to teachers than you may know. I've got a fat binder of them, and when difficult days come, as they sometimes do, that book is a godsend.
We went out on bikes to pick up litter on the school yard, our daily pleasure, as the room moms readied our classroom party. It featured a craft and a snack. The craft was cunningly simple and sparkling and beautiful:
It was even fun to clean up afterwards. Nice conversations.
Walking to the car, I chatted with Alison Blom, a kindergartner from yesteryear, now a high school junior, about her future, still fuzzy college plans. It's somehow very special to so clearly remember someone as they were as five year olds and yet be talking, eleven years later, to them as sixteen year old teenagers. (And to all you kindergarten parents out there: take heart, teenager years can be wonderful. Really.) I told Alison to dream big. One benefit from being a teacher for a long time in the same school you get to know your students over a long time.
I'm aglow with the holiday spirit.
As we finished dinner tonight and began to tuck in an ample dessert of homemade Christmas cookies, gifts brought home today, my son, Ted, said, "Now this is good benefit of having a kindergarten teacher for a dad!"
I'll be posting to this blog over the holidays. Keep checking it. And don't be shy about commenting. I like to hear from you.