A couple days ago Lily went to collect our ever growing bounty of eggs from the hen house and forgot to close the laying box door. Her hands were full and I think she probably told herself she'd come back for it, but she didn't. Sometime between then and the next morning, most of our newly laying hens decided to take a walk. Seven of them were discovered by coyotes.
When I delivered this news to Lily she was in the midst of packing for the end of the year beach trip her class would take that day. She made a sad face, asked a few questions and then got back to the task at hand. My child, who usually reacts to all things in a deeply emotional way, showed very little emotion, pushing it off immediately. This concerned me. I couldn't quite figure out if she didn't fully understand her role in this or if she took all that emotion and stuffed it. After all, she doesn't handle transitions well and it's the end of the school year. It's possible she's simply sticking this incident aside and that emotion will find it's way out later.
Talking to her teachers (who so often double as child psychologists) Mr. V suggested that once school is over he & Ms. K should come for a home visit and talk with Lily about what happened. Maybe, he thought, with the school transition under her belt and with someone not invested in the event Lily could talk about how this whole thing is making her feel. And if she can talk to him about it, maybe she can process it in a healthy way.
Do you see why we love this school so much?
Today was the last day and Lily came home with a pile of stuff, workbooks and project folders, art and love notes from classmates. Also, a class CD including liner notes, each track selected by her fellow students. At the end are songs from her teachers, the last from a sub who filled in when Ms. K had a baby. It's a song Mrs. L wrote and her daughter (who heads to High School in the fall) performed. Listening to it, I found myself suddenly sobbing with the understanding of how deeply my kid is loved. She has such amazing support all around her; the team of teachers that shepherded her through her school year are some of the more brilliant souls I've ever met. At the beginning of the year I remember them telling the kids every day that they loved them and the cynical part of me said, "Pfft. Love them? They don't even know them." But now? Now I know. Now I know what love really means here. Now I can see what a positive school culture, a social emotional curriculum and the love of some wonderful teachers can really mean.
There's been some major upset at this school lately, with almost half the teaching staff moving on to other opportunities and (the most difficult of it all) two teacher whose contracts were not renewed. It has divided the parents, made many consider leaving the school, and made the end of the year more emotional than anyone could expect. And yet, I look at the year my child had and the love that has been offered her (and Anya, who was around enough to get her own dose of affection) and I can't help feeling like we're in the right place. Especially in moments of such clarity as I had this week though the kind offering of time from one teacher and song from another.
We are so damn lucky.