We knew this day would come, Johnson Elementary only goes to 5th grade. At some point; like we did with preschool at Fairview, we were going to have to leave the nest. And like Fairview, Johnson was a safe haven for us. It runs like a school ought to be run, with a principal who mixes the right amount of fun with education, only one of the reasons why she is a Golden Apple Principal.
Right around the corner from our house, Liam started Kindergarten 4 years ago(with mom spying like a weirdo at recess time for a solid 2 months, alright 5 months, after school began because I am that mom) and is now leaving Johnson a bit early at the end of his 3rd grade year because an opportunity came up that we know we needed to follow.
We have all been preparing ourselves for this change in these last few weeks. Liam has been processing the changes every once in awhile with a “I’m going to miss …” and “I’m a little nervous…” and giving his beloveds at school extra hugs. Molly has been THRILLED with the idea of having her brother at the same school as her again. And for us, the parents, we know it is the right move, but that doesn’t make saying good-bye any easier. It has taken us a solid 6 months and countless meetings, school visits and emails to come to this decision. I suppose if we didn’t have the dream team the decision would have been easier. But when you have a team that stands beside you when resources appear scarce and district mandates want to get in the way of your kid’s learning and success, you just don’t want to say good-bye to that team. You want to win the lottery and build your own school and hire them to educate your kid and other kids in his situation for forever.
Sadly, this is not reality. Moving on and saying good-bye is a part of life, and so we would rather just say thank you instead of good-bye. And because this blog has been a source of comfort for us and place that I can truly express our collective gratitude, it felt right to bring it back to this place at such a meaningful part of the journey.
(I’ll let you know that ‘Msr.’ is not a spelling error. When Liam began talking he couldn’t say Mrs. he could only say Msr. and even though he can say it now, everyone will forever be known as Msr.)
Thank you Msr. Miller for running your school like a B O S S. You don’t wear your skill or brilliance like armor, you show up everyday ready to do your job with a smile, you make a difference in the lives of those kids and the parents and you advocate in a way that only you can. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn and advocate under your golden leadership.
Thank you Msr. Smith for your love and care for Liam. You love him like your own, and it has always shown in his learning. He has always felt safe with you and because of that he could come grumpy or happy and you saw him and met him where he was. He knows that you are safe, and that you are his people. You equipped Matt and I to assist Liam in his learning so he could be successful and not fall behind. There is nothing more we could have asked for in a resource teacher. We love you. See you at camp. 🙂
Thank you Ms. Trish for always razzing Liam when he would come behind your desk and poke in your business. I can only imagine how many times he did this, and yet when we have seen him interact with you, we could see that he counted you safe. Thank you.
Thank you Msr. Garlick. The countless social stories that you created to help Liam understand relationships and social interactions meant the world to us, especially with a season when TAP was not up and running and we didn’t know how we were going to get Liam the resources he needed. The social stories brought us comfort and gave us a tool to teach Liam and we are all better for it. Sidebar: Thank you for the work you did with Molly in Kindergarten. Watching her face light up when we would visit this year with her spoke volumes to the kindness you showed BOTH of our kids.
Thank you Mrs. Robins. Thank you for picking up the baton from Msr. Smith this year as Liam’s resource teacher. Our last IEP meeting at Johnson this spring went so smoothly and you play a large role in that. Your assistance in the transition of so much information is such a gift, and we are so.so. grateful. You only had a year with him, and yet you saw him so clearly. Thank you.
Thank you Mrs. Green. Thank you for forcing Liam to walk out to the car at pickup instead of walking with him. I did NOT like this that first week, change is hard and he is my BABY, but it was the right thing to do. And because you saw in him the capacity for independence, he grew in it this year. I see why now, now that he is going to a new school, new teachers and a new building. This mama needed to let go in this very specific way, and you made space for Liam and I to grow in this way. Thank you.
Thank you to Mrs. Kellogg, Msr. Bennett, Mrs. Henson and Ms. Arco. Your willingness to work with us as we searched for what worked and what didn’t for Liam was not in your job description, but you did it anyway. You gave Liam space to learn as he learned, you gave countless hugs and high-fives, you answered countless “why” questions, you were gracious in your allowance to let him shine. He LOVES Johnson and each of you played a role in that. Thank you for seeing our kid, advocating along side of us, and giving him space to learn. Thank you.
And to our Wang. Our very special Msr. Lang. We will NEVER forget the first time we met. You knelt down to Liam who wasn’t fully verbal and introduced yourself and I looked up at Matt and we both gave each other the knowing look. We KNEW you were his person. The chemistry was undeniable. We are his sun and moon, but you are his stars. You work like clockwork, you love like family, and you are both ridiculous in all the right ways together. Our forever homecoming king and queen. You gave us the comfort and peace of mind we needed as we had to sort through all the challenges from Kindergarten to 3rd grade. You were our constant. Four years of memories. Four years of having the lines of communication open so that we could support Liam and figure things out in order to help him. You are one of our greatest gifts that we did not have the imagination to ask for, you will always be our Msr. Lang. Thank you.
And to Liam. We love you more than we could ever express. You rise to every.single.challenge placed in front of you. You are tenacious in your own right and we see you. Change is so hard, but we believe in you. You have always led us in courage and bravery and this time won’t be any different. You are becoming an advocate, which is one of our deepest desires for you. If you can advocate for yourself, the world is your oyster. We can’t wait to see what this next adventure holds for you, and we are confident that you will continue to shine like you ALWAYS do. We love you to Uranus and back. XOXOX