The state of things.

Yesterday I took a few lovely books over to my neighbor for her to share with her grandson.  Upon receiving them he began hugging me.

Grandma:  “He’s a hugger.”

I just stood there like a post…

Grandson:  “I was born real close to Valentines day and that’s why I love everyone so much.”  (paraphrased because I honestly can’t remember exactly what he said.)

It took me an embarrassingly long time to respond to his loving and normal display of gratitude on receiving my gift.

So what was that all about? 

Well you see, when I taught in California there were so many lawsuits going on involving teachers and inappropriate touch (more than one is too many!!!) that we were instructed NOT TO TOUCH OUR STUDENTS.  Those who did only touched the top of their little head, or their hands for proper instruction and help with holding a pencil.

This is all wrong.  Little kids need hugs and an appropriate show of affection from caregivers.  (And whether you know it or not your child’s teacher is a caregiver/stand in mother, protector, parapsychologist, as well as educator for your little darling)  😉  We do try to do it all and more each day and all without touching them for fear of being accused of inappropriate behavior.

It saddens me to realize how programmed I had become, and that the programming has persisted even into my retirement.

It makes me wonder is it just me?

OR…

Do all teachers feel/react like this nowadays?

Do parents worry about this kind of thing?

Do the students?

How has it come to this?

It makes me sad for the children.

Letting Go

I stand at the window and watch as bin after bin is loaded into the big panel truck.  I tell myself it’s OK, that I don’t care…

But I do.

I feel the tears start and then I get angry at my inability to hold them back.  I have held onto the contents of those bins for almost three years now and I finally find that I have the strength to let go of the past.  Twenty-five Rubbermaid storage bins, crammed to the top with games, puzzles, musical instruments, books, flash cards, critter keepers, and more than I can name.  All of it collected by me (or given to me by my students) loved and cherished by every class of children I ever taught.

We shared a journey wherein we learned together and had fun getting there!

I watch the truck pull out of the drive, roll on down the road, and know that the stuff of my career is finally gone.

I think:  “Bob will have his garage back and we’ll have an empty spare room for company when they come to visit.”

All of my special things will be sold for far less than I paid for them, then trying to be pragmatic I tell myself, the proceeds will help those in need.  Now in my mind’s eye I imagine a child holding her parent’s hand, looking at the things I once owned and I see the child smile on hearing the word “Yes.”

Does it hurt any less?  Maybe just a little.  It is a melancholy feeling.  The task of getting rid of all of this has hung around my neck for so long…

I held out…

drowning with the weight of it.

After all, I tell myself, I have a new life here and my days are full with other tasks now.  I feel myself smiling through my tears and know that my decision was a good one.  I breathe in freedom and expel a sigh relief that I could let go.

It is freeing.