This morning – my second day back at work – I started the day on the river gliding through the changing colors of the sunrise with light mist dancing in the distance all around me.
A bald eagle (the first I’ve seen all year) soared overhead as the very first rays of sunlight beamed like lasers over the treetops across the river on the eastern shore. The sunlit eagle flew lower than usual right over my kayak. I interpreted this as a favorable sign.
A few minutes later, the rising sun climbed my favorite cottonwood tree, shining through his branches. Another first, for I’d never seen the sunrise in that location, and it felt like the tree was beaming such warmth. I always feel that Patrick Cottonwood and I have an energy exchange when I glide past him in my kayak, but this time it was visual and glorious.
Paddling back home to get ready for the workday, the sunlight glistened on my paddle as it lifted rhythmically from the water. There was a lot of traffic from work boats and barges, but it didn’t matter, for this early morning on the river was spectacular.
Filled with yes
And illuminated with sunlight,
I turn to greet this new day
Shining, shining, shining…
It is a new moon, a good time to start something new.
Today was the day I met my students and their parents. I showered every one of them with love as I greeted them, beaming the light of the sunrise. Ten years ago, I took my son to meet his kindergarten teacher the day before school began, and I envied her. She was the woman to whom I was handing my dear child, and I prayed that she would recognize and appreciate all that I had come to love about him. He was my baby, and I wanted more than anything to know he was in good, loving hands. I felt she was doing the most important work in the world.
From that day on, my mind was made up. I wanted to be that person to whom parents handed their babies. I wanted to be the bridge between home and school, or the ferry that carried them across. It is an awesome responsibility.
I will never forget how it felt to be the parent of a new kindergartner. And that is why I gave both the children and their parents 100% of my attention and all the time they needed this afternoon. I was able to assure parents that their children are in good hands and that I will give them all the love I possibly can – for I was once in their shoes and remember. Despite the rigor of the curriculum, I will fill their days with music, art, and kindness, weaving these elements throughout all the content areas. I will keep them safe by providing boundaries and limits. I will be the Compassionate Mother, seeing the good in each child.
I ended up falling in love so many times today – with shy girls, sweet-faced boys, parents blinking back tears. It is a big deal when your child starts kindergarten. It is a big deal to start kindergarten.
The other night, I dreamt of this day. In the dream, I was meeting my new students and their families, and it was very crowded, almost claustrophobic. In the midst of it all, I stopped and truly connected with the children and realized in that connection that I was doing the right work for me. All my dreams over the summer about the upcoming school year have been positive. I have a good feeling about this year, despite everything going on in public education. I am hopeful.
As the new school year begins, I wish all teachers, students, and families many blessings!
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