Well goodbyes are never easy. The last day with sprouts is always emotional – for them and me. They come in bouncing with hugs and gifts and then, at some point during the morning, they realize, it’s almost over.
I got many sweet presents. Lots of pictures, cards, and even some tasty treats. A set of twins whose sister I had last year gave me some homemade whoopie pies. I got some last year too and I’ve been bugging them all year for more… they are the last kids in the family, so mom included the recipe in case I ‘got brave and wanted to try and make them myself.’ Very unlikely, but the thought was awesome.
When Billy came in, he had a serious sour puss on. He was clearly sad from the get go. I think seeing other children with gifts, he may have been disappointed he didn’t have anything for me. After he put his things away, I called him over.
“Look at me,” I started, pulling his face up gently with my hand as I often did to keep him focused.
“Do you know what the best gift anyone could give me is?” I asked.
“What?” He replied.
“A great big smile and super duper hug – it doesn’t get any better than that,” I said.
With that, he first smiled brightly and then squeezed me like he was trying to get the last bits of juice out of an orange.
“Thank you,” I whispered as he walked away.
Finally, the gift that surprised me the most was from Louis. He’s a quiet boy who always listens, does his work, and never makes a fuss. Apparently, he’d really been observant and understood my love of Star Wars. When he handed me a gift bag, with something neatly wrapped in tissue paper, he had a sly smirk on his face.
“Open it,” he prompted.
Here’s what was inside:
Yes, that would be an R2D2 spatula!
“I had my mom order it off the computer,” he said softly.
I was speechless. It was one of the coolest and most thoughtful gifts I’d ever received from a student. Of course, I didn’t want to make a huge stink about it in front of everyone, but deep down, I was just blown away.
As the morning came to an end, with our early release on the last day, we began our goodbyes. Standing at the door, I made sure to stoop down and offer each sprout a hug and a ‘Have a wonderful summer!’ before they left. Some squirmed free to try and get out of dodge as fast as possible, but others lingered, not wanting to leave my embrace or the safety and routine of school. As the last ones walked out of the building and I returned to my room and took a deep breath. Then one more. Another year is over. Goodbyes are never easy.