Today was the last day of the school year. Our first full school year in Knoxville. I now have a 2nd, 3rd and 4th grader. All with varying reactions to the new year. 

My newly finished first grader had been dreading this day for about a month. While his brother and sister have been counting down days, he has been pouting and trying to wish away the end of the year. He has fallen in love with his teacher this year and I am so very grateful. Kinder was a tough year for him. As a highly energetic 6 year old boy, he often has more wiggles than ability to sit still. This often gets him in trouble. This year, we were blessed with an amazing teacher that took his energy in stride and redirected his drive at every turn. He completed this academic year with all A’s and has learned so much more than just academics. He has retained his loving nature and is able to both be silly and serious. He was encouraged to be himself but also taught how to complete his work. The amount of patience that Ms. Mattson has is beyond my comprehension. She is a true blessing to me and I hope that we will be given the opportunity to be in her class again! 

Tyce chose not to go to school today (this is the first time I’ve given that option). He was so worn out and ready for summer, as is his Momma. We did get the chance to say goodbye to his teacher as we had to pick up his r port card this afternoon. Tyce has grown so much this year. He is so very different from his over-achieving brother and sister. He is content with knowing. He hates to have to prove that he knows over and over again. He skips problems that he knows and moves one without a thought. We have had to redo so many things this year because of this lackadaisical attitude towards school. But his teacher had been patient and helpful. She was always cheerful and helpful when we had any issues. Tyce prefers to not be the center of attention- he refuses the spotlight and likes to be a part of a group. This year has been a good one and I think he’s prepared for 3rd grade (probably more than I am!) because Mrs. Lee has made sure he knows what he needs to even when his grades don’t reflect his knowledge! I am thankful he had a teacher that understood his needs and never put him on the spot! 

Addisyn amazes me. Today, I read her letters from her classmates. Got tears rolled down my checks as I read child after child say things like “you always include others at recess” and “thank you for being a good friend” along with “you’re always kind and helpful”. This child has had the most challenging year emotionally. She feels everything big and loud. She either laughs without abandon or cries tears of despair. It’s been a whole lot of talking through feelings and managing blow ups. She is trying to reconcile the conflicting feelings of wanting to go back home to Texas and wanting to find a “home” here. I see so much of myself in this child. She is caring and thoughtful, but so very emotional. Her teacher has gone out of her way to make sure that Addisyn feels at home in her new school. She is tender and kind when Addisyn makes bad decisions but helps her correct those and learn from them. I am so proud of the maturity that has taken place this year. It’s so beautiful to watch her become a young lady. Though I don’t want her to grow up, I am so excited to see who she becomes! Mrs. Wilkinson, thank you for shepherding my daughters heart this year, along with her brain. 

I am so glad this year is complete- I am ready for sleeping in and picnics and days at Dollywood and water parks and late bedtimes and swimming and sunshine! But beginnings generally mean endings as well. I am so very thankful for the people who have made an impact on my children this year. It has gone a long way in making Knoxville feel more like home and less strange and scary. I see my children embracing new and different. I see them growing in ways they never would have if we had stayed. I see maturing and compassion. It does a Momma heart good to know that there are teachers out there that love my kids so much that tears are shed when the year ends. 
So, Thank you, to all the teachers my kids have had, and to all my teacher friends for investing you in them. For loving them like your own even when they chose wrong. Thank you for the patience you display and the work you put into your classroom. Thank you for making learning fun. Thank you for loving that one kid that makes every day harder. Thank you for being what they need even thought they don’t know it. Your job is priceless and it’s so much more than just a job. It’s a calling. I, for one, as grateful that my child has been blessed by you! ❤️