Sunday, May 20, 2012

School's Out!

"School's Out" the kids all jumped and shout. This year was a first. When we parents arrived on the last day to get our kids we were told they had something special planned and could we please give them one last minute together as a school. All the children walked single file out the front door, and grouped together in classes on the front lawn of the school. The principal gave the kids a countdown, from 1 to 3, and all 350 students jumped together and yelled out loudly and proudly, "SCHOOL'S OUT!"

My son was one of the few who chose to not participate. He stood next to his teacher, with his hands covering his eyes trying to hold on for a few more precious seconds. Gabriel was not ready for the last day of school. It's always bittersweet in our home. We all love summer vacation, but it means we must say goodbye to our wonderful teachers and friends we've made that year.

God has truly blessed our family. I am so thankful for our school. The teachers are phenomenal. The principal is a Christian. They give guidance that I can trust. When you are leaving your child with someone for seven hours out of a day that is a pretty tall order. This school has come through for my family in a big way.

I was so excited for Gabriel to be in Mrs. Heil's class this year. When I was in middle school, Mrs. Heil and her family attended my church. I was good friends with her daughter. Gabe got to spend all year long in the company of a Christian teacher. They encouraged each other in their faith, and even had moments of prayer together. How awesome is that? I could not ask for a more influential lady for my son. She has given him so much this year, and I'd like to believe that Gabriel also gave something back to her. Mrs. Heil thanked me on more than one occasion for Gabriel. When her father was dying, she said it was so special to have Gabe pray with her, and for her. I am so proud of my son. He is growing up to be a fine young man who loves Jesus with all his heart and soul.

Ariel had the privilege of being in class with Mrs. Snell this year. She was such a sweet lady and cared so much for the students. She had a quiet way about her that could put anyone at ease. On many occasions Mrs. Snell gave of her own resources to help the class room in their studies. I was very touched by that.

I cannot write the next part without a little bit of sadness creeping in. My daughter has graduated from elementary school! Gasp! Life goes by so quickly. I remember meeting her kindergarten teacher for the first time, and entrusting my daughter to her care. I've always been a stay-at-home mom and never believed much in preschool. To give up my child for the first time to a stranger was heartache. Ariel and I both survived and have come out better from the process. God knew exactly what He was doing, and I believe every single teacher has been handpicked by Him.

I'm excited, and scared to see what God has in store for my daughter. Every day I know it brings her closer to independence which is the ultimate goal. To say that is one thing, to live it is another. Don't ever mistake me giving my child freedom with a smile on my face as being easy. It's been one of the hardest things to do. To let go and trust God to take care of them when I am not there. He is faithful though!

Ariel is a girl with such a strong character; she does not easily falter. She has strength of will and mind. She is not easily frightened. She has to be as my first child. I was contemplating this the other day. My Ariel has to put up with her parents learning to be parents. She is the true guinea pig. All of our firsts as parents have happened with her. God knows I have failed on so many occasions in my parenting and the learning process. As Ariel grows and learns, so do I and her father. We knew nothing before her. Her brothers have it much easier because we have been seasoned as parents. God gave her the personality she would need to make it, whereas her brothers would have had a much harder time being the first child. Isn't it amazing how much God cares for us, and knows us so intimately? He knows what personality to give before we're even born.

Ariel was awarded the President's Award for Educational Excellence. In order to receive this, you had to maintain a 3.5 GPA or higher for all elementary years, you had to get an exemplary on both 4th and 5th grade Kansas assessments, and you had to be nominated by a school staff member.

You should have seen her face while she waited to hear if she would receive it and the look when it was mentioned she got it. Priceless. The certificate was signed by the President and the Secretary of U.S. Education. For the rest of the night we heard Ariel say in awe, "I can't believe the President touched this. The President touched this piece of paper."

Congratulations Ariel! We're proud of you! You are such a positive young woman full of life. You love God first and that is the most important thing. As long as you continually rely on Him and ask for His guidance you will go far! We love you! Mom and Dad
(Our 5th Grade Dedication to Ariel for the school yearbook)

Every year on the first day of school, I like to take a photo of the kids before we walk inside the building. Its fun to see how much Ariel has grown and changed through the last six years. I am so proud to be her mother!

School's out for the summer! We may be a little bit sad, but we're really happy to have the next couple of months together. We're going to have lots of fun. Our first big summer event will be our annual graduation Luau! The kids love this party. It gets the summer started off with a bang!

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