Thursday, January 3, 2008

School is in session and no one died!

Today was the first day back to school after winter break. It was strangely uneventful. I wasn't sure how today would go since the last day of school before winter break was truly one of the hardest days of my life.
As many of you know, my favorite person at Wood Elementary, Ms. Sandy McNutt, retired on that day. Ms. McNutt is my friend, she is my favorite teacher, she is the only reason I drive my kid 20 minutes to school instead of going to the school down the street. She is my family and I love her way too much.
She is the most empathetic person I have ever known. She has the ability to make every person that she knows feel like they are the single most important person to her. I have often watched her talking with people and I marvel at how she never takes her eyes off of them. She focuses on what they are saying. She really listens to them. Her attention makes them feel special and to her they are.She sees potential and she coaxes it out. Kids just beam when they walk away from her. I am not the only person who loves her and considers her personal property. Our whole school is full of love for this woman. So, I knew this would be a sad day. I just didn't realize how hard it would be on me, personally.
We started the day with what I thought was going to be a fun Christmas carol sing-a-long in the school cafeteria. I brought my happy self and my happy daughter up to the school and sat there with Landry's wonderful teacher trying not to cry as each grade level sang a specific song for Ms. McNutt. She cried and cried. My heart just broke watching her hug every kid.

As I was leaving the sing-a-long someone told me that the school was going to line the halls at the end of the day and do the "clap out" for Ms. McNutt. The "clap out" is a Wood tradition where the students line the hallways on the last day of school and clap out the 6Th graders who are on their way to Jr. High. I went to it last year. Mind you, I only had a kindergartner but, I cried like he was leaving for college. So, when I found out the plans for that afternoon, I lost it. I completely broke down sobbing. I don't generally sob. I tear. I sniffle, but I don't sob. But, I could not imagine how unbelievably hard that would be for Sandy. I wanted to take her away right then and say, you don't have to do this. You can stay. I will take care of everything. Actually, I did say that. No luck!

Needless to say, that was a ridiculously hard day. I cried the whole day. People kept asking me if I was okay and I would just break down and try to explain.It was really crazy for me. My head hurt. My eyes were swollen and I had to go get a massage the next day to get rid of the tension I was holding in my body. See people...I have compassion!
I don't even want to know what Sandy had to do the next day to get back in working order.
Anyway....that terrible day was over and I have dreaded today for the past two weeks. I know in my mind that it wouldn't be different. That everything would remain the same, but my heart has a little empty feeling when I think of going up there and she isn't in the building. I also wondered if maybe she would change her mind and show up chained to the front door with a shirt that says, "Hell no I won't go!" Hee that would be funny!

It didn't happen. As a matter of fact life went on. Landry did wake up with a stomach ache today. I wondered if I would be going up to the empty, hollow halls of the school to pick him up early today, but he made it through the day and forgot about his stomach ache. The halls weren't hollow or empty. No new regime is coming in to shake things up. It is just another day at Wood. I didn't even have to get out of the car today. Which is a good thing because it is cold as a witches nose! I will miss plopping my butt down in her office and just shooting the breeze. I will miss the security I feel being under her wing, but I am so thankful that she invited me to come to the school that she has made into the amazing place that it is. I don't know what I have done to be so blessed, but God has really put wonderful people in my life who love me as much as I love them. He has guided my steps even when I wasn't aware of it. I hope he keeps doing it. Landry and Sophie, you don't know how blessed you are!


Anonymous said...

Dear, dear Tessa,

I wonder how the Lord knew I would need to read your blog tonight? I wish that I could say I was your old writing teacher instead of math...obviously you have a gift for words. Either that, our Jesus knew what words to put in your heart that would mean the world to me. I wonder how I got so lucky to be a part of your are certainly a part of my heart. I love you forever!

Ms. McNutt

Tessa said...

Just be glad you aren't my grammar teacher. I am positive that I punctuate way too much or not enough!!

Anyway, you are loved my friend!

Anonymous said...

You can always be the 16th grandchild. Your dad would make me nervous as my brother though because he means the world to me! I would never leave him alone..always going for advice. Thank you for loving Sandy and my family so much! You make her smile A LoT!