Adoption of the Heart

Thanks to my unemployment status, I had the chance to work as a substitute teacher at my children’s school and attend a variety of school functions this year.  I read a friend’s comment on Facebook the other day about “adopting her bible school class into her heart”.  I like that phrase, so I’m going to borrow it.  It is a good description of what has happened to me this year.  I have adopted the students at my children’s school into my heart.  So you can imagine the melancholy feeling I have as the school year comes to an end.

I know that the 8th graders will be moving on to High School next year.  But I also know that some of the younger students might not be coming back to this school next year.  It’s sad to see these kids spread their wings and fly from the nest.  Plus, there is a possibility that I won’t be as involved in my children’s school next year.  As I pursue my dream to be a teacher, some of the opportunities of helping at the school next year might be a little limited.  So I know, in the back of my brain, that the end of this school year is an end to some great times.  Ones that can only be replayed in my memories.

That is why I wanted to be present at the yearbook signing yesterday.  I wanted to have a chance to make my ‘mark’ in the children’s yearbook, since they made a mark in my heart this year.  I have memories of each and every one of the children at that school, in one situation or another.  Whether it was during a substitute teaching job, an inter-session, after-care or on a school function.  During this year, I have been given the privilege to share a conversation or an event with each one of those children.  During that time, without me realizing it, I had adopted each one of those children into my heart.  Whether they realize it or not, they made me a different person.

So since I have four children and can not afford 4 yearbooks, I had to do some creative thinking to make it “fair” for all my children.  (God knows we don’t want to get my kids started on the “It’s not fair” game.)  The school protocol is to give the yearbook to the oldest sibling in the family.  Which meant that Marie would be getting the yearbook to use during the yearbook signing.  This was not going to make Patrick happy.  In fact, when I tried to use the yearbook signing as a motivation for going to school yesterday, it backfired.  Instead of getting him out of bed faster, it made him upset and declared that he didn’t want to go to school.

That is what caused me to find away to make the yearbook signing a happy memory for all the kids at their school.  First I created and ordered a special photo collage of Patrick during some school events.  This would be his autograph page to gather signatures on.  During that time, I noticed a sale on reprints, so I decided to make a copy of a class photo for all of Patrick’s classmates.  I figured I could get some card-stock and attach the 4 x 6 photo to it for an autograph page.  Some of the kids in Patrick’s class would have an actual yearbook, but some would be like Patrick, since they had an older sibling in the school.

Thankfully, as I was on the road to pick up my supplies to make Patrick’s day memorable, I started wondering about my little Kindergarten and Preschool child.  Would they be involved in the yearbook signing?  Would they feel left out too?  And how many other kids in that school would have the same scenario happening?  I am the type of mom that tries to buy a small gift, like a coloring book, for younger siblings if we attend a birthday party.  My mom always did that and I’m proud to carry on the tradition.  So that is what prompted me to be awesome yesterday.  Yep, I had to get my ‘Awesome’ cape out of the closet for the day.

I had purchased a package of white card-stock to mount Patrick’s class photo on.  So I decided to go one step farther and print off some labels that said “AUTOGRAPHS” on it and placed them at the top of a card-stock.  I handed out enough pages to all the classroom teachers so that no one would be empty-handed that day.  I figured it would help my younger kids not feel so left out if their classmates had similar Autograph pages.

Come to find out, the Preschool and Kindergarten classes did take part in the yearbook signing.  Since I had a 4-year-old in my house, I could imagine what some of those yearbooks might go home looking like.  I can picture the conversation now:

A parent would ask one of the Pre-K students, “Honey, why is your photo blacked out of the yearbook?”

The child would answer, “Because the teacher gave me a marker to sign my name, so I decided to color the photo instead.”

At least, that is what my kids would probably do.  🙂  So that is why I gave the Preschool teacher enough Autograph pages for all of her class to use.  That way the yearbook could be tucked in the child’s backpack for their parent’s to enjoy…marker-free!

As I said earlier, I wanted to be present at the yearbook signing and I was.  I got a chance to put a note in some of the kid’s yearbook.  I made sure to sign my daughter’s friend’s yearbook with the quote, “Good Luck With That!”, because it was a comment I made one day in class that seemed to become my quote for the year.  Some of the kids asked me to sign their yearbook and for some of the kids, I just took it and signed it without them asking me.

What can I say, I may be a 45-year-old, mother of four, but in my heart and mind I’m still young.  I hope that as years go by, those kids will pass over my note in their yearbook and it will make them remember a time we shared this year.  Whether they know it or not, each and every one of them has been adopted into my heart and I can’t wait to see them grow into the wonderful human beings that I know they can be.

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