This week at I Heart Faces, there is no contest. Amy and Angie are hosting an “in real life” workshop in Dallas (yes, I am fighting with the green-eyed monster, trying HARD to not be jealous of the lucky ladies headed in that direction). They’ll be a bit too busy to monitor a contest, so this is a non-competitive week where the post can contain as many pictures as I can stuff in there. The theme is “Thankfulness”, and according to A2 (A squared-Amy and Angie-get it?), “This post should be all about what you are most thankful for…it can be focused on one special person in your life or it can be a big, long post about everything that you are the most thankful for. Feel free to make this post personal to you and your life story.
I usually skip these weeks, telling myself that I don’t have time to do a post that requires that much thought and all of those pictures. But to say that I don’t have time to be thankful? Eeesh. Not nice. So what AM I thankful for? Too many things to stuff into one post, even one very long post. And anyone who knows me already knows that I’m thankful for my Handsome Hubby and my sweet Bug Hunter, for my family and friends, and my church and BH’s school. And most of all for my Jesus, my Savior, my Friend. But today, I took my camera in to our kids’ program; I was helping out and hadn’t taken any pictures of the kids this year. And when I got a shot of the incredible woman who leads the program, it hit me that I am SO thankful for the “other women” in my boy’s life. The ones who have partnered with me and HH as we raise him up to be the man that God intends for him to be. There are also some “other men”, and I may well do a “brother” post to this one highlighting the guys. But this one is for the other women who rock our world.
This is the kids program leader who sparked the idea for this post. Mrs. Janette looks quite serious here, but when she gets on stage to do the rally each week, she is one fired-up lady! She loves my boy dearly and “gets” who he is; from bringing in dog treats when she heard he got a puppy to always asking what new creature he’s discovered, she is totally tuned in. I’m thankful for this beautiful woman!
And then there’s our Cub Scout den leader, Mrs. Janet. This is our 4th year in her den, and she has been absolutely incredible. We’ve had a couple of boys drop out but have added four or five more; a lot of dens fall apart by this point, but ours is still going strong. She knows how to plan the meetings so that they’re fun and keep the boys involved, and every activity counts towards something, so that all of our boys make their rank on time. Yep, thankful for this one, too.
And then, there are the teachers. Oh my, am I EVER thankful for them! This year’s teacher, Mrs. Sutter is an angel wrapped in a human skin; she has been so good for the Bug Hunter in so many ways. She used to be a Montessori teacher, and she plays to his strengths to the point that he loves school (well, except for the homework, and cursive, and speed drills). But really, if I could, I would persuade her to move up to 5th, and then 6th, and so on, and I would PAY to have Bug Hunter in her class each year. My thankfulness knows no bounds when it comes to this gift of a teacher!
There have been a lot of great teachers before her, too:
Third grade teacher Mrs. Thaxton.. Bug Hunter adored her. She let him bring a mouse into her room when the class book had a mouse in it. The mouse escaped and created havoc for a while, but Bug Hunter did manage to catch it. I think there may now be a new school rule against bringing mice in.
Second grade teacher, Mrs. Bowlin. She understood boys pretty well and let Bug Hunter catch some creatures that others would have made him leave alone. She had some great teaching methods; I can recall standing outside her classroom as she went over something the kids had to memorize, and they were practically doing aerobics as she used movement to facilitate memory.
Mrs. Bruce was the second grade parapro, and this woman turned my boy’s life around. He really struggled with relationships and got in trouble often. Mrs. Bruce LOVES “critters” as she calls them and respected my boy’s knowledge and passion for them. And because she knew him and watched out for him, she saw what others didn’t; that some of the children deliberately would push him to the point that he would lash out at them. When those kids finally realized that the game was up and that they would get in trouble right alongside Bug Hunter, the games stopped, and school became much more bearable for BH. I love this woman, and thankful doesn’t even start to describe how I feel.
Mrs. Wilkins was the quintessential first grade teacher; firm but loving. To the parents, she seemed almost emotionless, but when the door closed and class began, she lit up like a Christmas tree for the kids. I remember peeking in the door while passing the classroom one day, and she was ON THE DESK demonstrating something. The kids loved her, and she did a wonderful job of teaching BH not only how to read, but how to LOVE reading. Thankful? You betcha.
The K5 teacher, Mrs. Chasteen, was one of the calmest and most gracious ladies I think I’ve ever met. I never heard her raise her voice; she’d lift one finger and quietly say, “Friends…..?” Within a few seconds, 18 five-year olds would have their eyes on her and their mouths closed. She not only called them friends; she treated them that way, too. Little children know when they’re treated with respect, and for the most part, they respond well to it. Again, thankful.
Mrs. Kim was the K4 teacher, and she loved those precious little children with all of her heart. You can see it in this picture from preschool graduation; she was so sweet and loving. I’m thankful for all of the great teachers that BH had at Bright Beginnings preschool; I didn’t get my digital camera til the K4 year so I don’t have pictures. But we loved Mrs. Stephanie and Mrs. Julia dearly; they were gifted, sweet, and kind. Preschool thankfulness? Check.
This is Mrs. Cash, who worked in the reading room when BH started K5. I could sit and listen to her read stories all day long. But she goes much deeper than that; she’s one of the counselor/mentors at the Lighthouse Family Retreat and a seasoned prayer warrior. She loves BH, and he knows it. One more reason that I love our school, and one more drop in the thankful bucket.
Cile Borders was the Admissions director at our school when I investigated enrolling BH there. She was also my Sunday School teacher, along with her husband, Glenn. They have since moved to Budapest, Hungary, where they provide counseling for missionaries in Central and Eastern Europe. Cile’s blog is a wonderful travelogue of life in Europe, and we always look forward to her visits to the States so that we can give her a real life hug (she’ll be here in a month.. oh joy!). We are so thankful for her and pray for her every day.
Mrs. Diana, our next door neighbor, is one of the most important “other women” in BH’s life. He is always knocking on her door, asking if the girls can come out and play. He traipses through her house with dirty feet, begs snacks off of her, and uses her bathroom on a regular basis. She has four girls, but she takes my boy in like one of her own. Thankful, grateful, forever in her debt.. you’re looking at the best neighbor that a person could EVER have.
And then there’s Nana. Her other two grandchildren are grown and married (and one has a son of his own). What do you do with a little child when you’re in your 70’s? Nana goes… to the zoo, to the circus, to the playground, to Arby’s, to the movies.. wherever she thinks BH will have a good time. He loves his Nana muchly, and I am thankful that she’s around to be a part of his life.
Finally, there’s Weezie, HH’s mother. She always wanted to be called “Mother” by her kids, not “Mom”. She was “Grandmother” to all of the other grandkids, who are all now grown. But to BH? She was “Weezie”, a take on her name (Louise). She loved her youngest grandchild, even though she knew she wouldn’t get to spend much time with him. She passed away when he was 4, and we do our best to keep her memory alive for him.
If you’ve hung in to the end, then you deserve a pat on the back. I got the first 100 posts of my blog made into a book and plan to have another one made once this blog reaches 100. So, this post is for my boy; when he reads my blog books, this will bring back some memories of the wonderful “other women” in his life. For more thankful posts, head to I Heart Faces and check out Mr. Linky. And hey.. I’m thankful for YOU!