Yesterday was the last day of school. The award ceremony started at 9 and went to 12:30 for the first to sixth graders. It was the most amazing display of teacher love and an intentional, deliberate, all-consuming Christian education experience. The headmaster equated the school with a "green house", so that despite the withering heat and the freezing cold, our young men have been in a protected, loving environment to ensure their spiritual and mental growth. He encouraged me, as the parent, that I am the soil for my children. The soil's condition is intrinsically attached to our relationship with Christ. As we grow closer to the Lord the soil is richer and our offspring planted in our homes benefit from the godly nutrients in our lives.
Having the most amazing garden this year has reminded me that raising children and gardening are much alike. There are always weeds that grow up and are easier to address when they are small. There are external threats like bugs and kamikaze birds. There are choices along the way: to neglect the plants when I feel depleted or water though my soul seems parched. There are days when my eyes feast on the beauty of each of the individual blooms in my garden and there are days when I don't. There are waiting days that turn into months and expectation coupled with disappointment. Gardens are a work in progress. There is always more to be done. There is always a test of patience and a choice of prudence. But best of all there is HOPE FULFILLED. Yesterday was one of those hope-fulfilled days.
Here's why. When we returned home I read the double-sided letter Fritz's teacher wrote. I have to share it because as a parent my heart is bursting with gratitude and privilege that my son could be in this soft-spoken, truth-living teacher's class.
I give you back your child, the same child you entrusted to my care last fall. I give him back pounds heavier, inches taller, months wiser, more responsible, and more mature than he was then. Although he would have attained his growth in spite of me, it was my happy privilege to watch his development. I have been thrilled at each new achievement, each new success, each new expansion of self. I give him back reluctantly; for having spent nine months together in the narrow confines of a classroom, we have grown closer, have become a part of each other and we shall retain a little of each other.
Ten years from now if we meet on the street, your child and I, a light will spring into our eyes, a smile on our lips, and we shall feel a bond of understanding once more, this bond we feel today. We have lived, laughed, loved, played, studied, learned, and enriched our lives together this year. I wish it could go on forever, but give him back I must. Take care of him for he is precious.
Remember that I shall always be interested in your child, whoever he becomes. His joys and sorrows I will be happy to share.
I shall always be his friend.
Here is the other side of the exceptional letter, handwritten to her "little darlings":
45 minutes ago