Sunday, October 4, 2009

Growing On Up

I was recently in Cracker Barrel with a friend, when the girl behind the counter said, "Mrs. O, do you remember me?" I glanced at her name tag, and then back at her, and a big grin slid across my face. I told her what I tell all my students who have left my elementary classes and morphed into adults, "Your name and memory are forever in my heart, but I have trouble recognizing you in your grown-up body!" 12 years later, my former kindergartener is serving you with a smile. And she can now see over the counter.

I had that same experience this afternoon as there was a shower for one of my favorite former-third graders and his bride-to-be. The are both in college, soon to graduate, and getting married over the holiday break. It reminded me of the scene in "Father of the Bride" when Steve Martin's character looked at his daughter proclaiming she was getting married. What his eyes saw was his daughter at age 5 playing dress up. How could these years have passed so quickly?

Several other former students were there. S helped give the shower. When I taught her in third grade, she used to always tell me that her father was "praying she'd be more delicate" because she was somewhat of a tomboy. When I was dating D, she used to sit in church and sketch pictures of him and hide them in her little purse so she could show the other students what he looked like. She is now a "delicate" and beautiful college senior who is looking into a graduate program in nursing.

C was there from my kindergarten class, lo these many years ago. I remember when I'd drill her on her letters she would always forget the letter "w". And she'd always ask me if I was sure "that letter was supposed to be in the alphabet?" She's a high school junior who is tutoring a young boy in his reading, leading cheers at football games and no longer beating up a fellow classmate named J when he got on her last nerve at the Playdoh station.

Sisters M and K were there. I taught them both in different grades, and they are now outstanding high school volleyball players who will soon (if they haven't already) top six feet and look down at me with kindness.

I ask you, is there anything better than watching children grow up well in the Lord? I love the verse that says, "I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in the truth."

Today was an afternoon of great joy. No leaky eyes. Just a full heart. Godspeed to them all as they take hold of what the future holds for them. Godspeed.

1 comment:

Gina said...

Once again, you have touched my heart with your post. I taught 5th grade for 5 years then took a year off for a maternity leave. My husbands job moved us across the country at the end of that year so I never returned to that school again.
There were those students who are still in my memory and I wonder often what kind of adults they have become and if they were impacted at all by the year they spent with me.