This holiday season, as I often do, I received many gifts from my sprouts. Apparently, in their little eyes, I love nothing more than Dunkin’ Donuts and scented candles.  Lucky for me, the real gifts are priceless.

The gift of children who come in each day with a smile, offer a hug, and are genuinely ready to learn.

The gift of a small school where meaningful relationships are built and maintained pre-K through fifth grade.

The gift of various drawings, twigs, flowers, toys, and some of the most random minutiae from my students everyday.  They give it from the heart and I accept it that way.

The gift of an Ed Tech (yes, YOU Ms. C.) who loves my students as much as I do.  Two hearts really are better than one.

The gift of having so many siblings of my students so close.  They come down for celebrations, to help, or just to visit with their younger brothers and sisters and I just adore it.

The gift of two lunch ladies who show up each morning and go above and beyond to make sure my students have two meals so they can thrive and learn.

The gift of being asked to attend one of my little guy’s adoption hearing.  I was honored and humbled to watch him become a permanent, legal, part of his family.

The gift of teachers who welcome me into their rooms and feel free to visit mine whenever, without needing an invitation or feeling intruded upon.

The gift of a custodian who does so much more than clean.

The gift of a supportive administrator who trusts me and understands what is, and is not, developmentally appropriate.

The gift of a five minute commute.  Seriously, this is a gift each time I drive to and from work.

The gift of a little guy pulling at my shirt, right before he left and, staring me right in the eyes, asking, “Mr. ______, will you miss me?”  And telling him, “Yes” and meaning it.

So as we settle back to rest, relax, and recharge a little with our own families, never forget, as teachers, how amazingly rich our lives are because of what we do.  What gift are you most happy to have?

Happy Holidays to each and everyone of you!