I was standing in the jewelry store during the last day of the school year when the salesperson asked me politely, “May I help you?” I answered, “I am looking for a special gift for a special teacher, and it can’t be too fancy or she won’t accept it.” And then I burst into tears.
How could I possibly thank the woman who had been my son’s aide and an academic lifeline for the past four years? How could a necklace or a locket or a cameo pin ever express our gratitude for her sweet and loving attention? Mrs. Barnes always seemed to know when to help Connor and when to fade back. She had the respect of both her general education peers and school administrators.
But most of all, she believed in our son.
She fought with us to have Connor spend 90% of his time in a gen ed class. She knew that with a little 1-to-1 tutoring he could participate in the same testing as his academic peers. She saw his gifts instead of his delays. She helped him course-correct when he was off-track, off-kilter or off-and-running in full-blown meltdown mode. She also encouraged him to give school his best effort, and she listened to what he had to say instead of telling him what to do.
And now that Connor will be going into fourth grade next year, she realized that it was important to break the bond that they had shared for so long. It was time. With tears in her eyes, she said, ” I can’t imagine my life without him. I love him so much, but it is time for him to move on.” And we agreed.
But it will never be the same without her. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
We wish you health, happiness and most of all, the opportunity for her to help yet another special little boy or girl the way she has helped ours.