Yeah, I know my birthday was yesterday. Do you think that means I can't talk about how awesome it was today? Absolutely NOT. I already told you how much I love my birthday....so it's definitely worth talking about for more than a day.
Yesterday was probably THE most special birthday I've ever had. Simply because of the love and kindness that was shown to me on my special day.
Let's start with how the day got started. All of my kids rushed in to the classroom to shower me with hugs and birthday wishes....all the while, covering something up I couldn't quite figure out. I figured I'd step out of the room to give them some privacy to fix whatever it was they were concocting.
When it was time to step back in, I was presented with a gift basket with all kinds of miscellaneous items. The basket had come from one of my students, and she had arranged for other students to bring stuff. She put some fruit in there, another student put in a bear, another a necklace, another a package of hot chocolate mix, another a candle, others put in cards, and three students - who didn't know what to bring - just threw in a dollar bill. And it wasn't just from kids in my class, but kids from the other fourth grade classrooms too.
Then, in walks one of my boys and a boy from one of the other classes carrying plates stacked with chocolaty goodness from the local candy store. My boy was quick to tell me that it was all his idea - and that he had just helped out a friend to get me something, too.
I was so overwhelmed with the cuteness and kindness, I couldn't help but tear up.
And here's a pic of my morning goodies:
Do you see the fork sticking out of the glass jar? That's a little inside joke I have with my class. Whenever I get a little upset, I say "Stick a fork in me, I'm DONE!" So, one of my students thought it would be cute to throw an actual fork in my birthday basket. Gotta love the sense of humor I'm blossoming, right?
I tell ya, I wasn't that surprised to receive such love from the students who participated in the gift basket - because they are all so kind, and generous, and loving to me all of the time. I mean, I was surprised they had gone to so much trouble and had worked together and pulled off an amazing gift. But not surprised at which kids had gone to that trouble. But my treat plates? That was knock the wind out of me awesome.
You see, the boy that bought them for me is super sweet and I love him very much... but, he's just one of those kids that doesn't show his feelings or emotions very much. He came to me with just a touch of a not so great history. I've taken him under my wing since school started, and he has shown his appreciation with good behavior and lots of laughs... but to show me that he cares with hugs or gifts? Yeah, not really his style. So, to see him walk in with those was one of those moments that buckled my knees a little. AND he gave me a great hug to go with them.
Kleenexes, people!! STAT!
After opening up my cards, I discovered a card from one of the 4th grade teachers - with a gift card enclosed. I have no idea how she managed to get that in there, being that I had been with her since school started... but it just goes to show how awesome the people I work with are.
And the showering didn't stop there.
During math class, a parent swung by to drop off a 1ltr bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper and a candy bar for her son to give me. I might have mentioned the day before that Pepsi was off limits, and Diet Dr. Pepper would be more appreciated... I can't believe one of my kids took me up on it.
And if all that crying and emotion and super sweetness wasn't enough.... get ready for this....
Right before lunch, one of my kids came to me and asked me if he could go and speak with the school counselor. I was a little concerned, and asked him if he was OK. He looked a little down, and just told me that he really needed to speak to the counselor. I sent him on his way.
Shortly after lunch, the counselor came to me. My kids were in their specials class. The counselor told me that she was off to run an errand...but had to tell me the story before she left.
My boy had gone to her with a $5 bill and asked her if she could possibly go and buy cupcakes for the entire class from the local candy store. She explained that $5 wasn't enough to buy for the whole class, so he immediately started clearing out his pockets of all his ice-cream money (it was ice-cream day at school). That added another $1.50 to the count. He told the counselor that he really wanted to buy cupcakes for my birthday - but if it wasn't enough for the whole class, could she just pick out something really nice for me? The counselor was so touched by his kindness, that she told him she would find a way to buy the cupcakes.
And she did.
A little later, she returned with 24 cupcakes from the candy store.
Are you bawling like babies yet? I know I was.
When the kids returned back from their specials class, they were greeted with a cupcake...and a big thank-you to the student who had bought them. The class then sung "Happy Birthday", and we spent the rest of the afternoon having a great time.
I tell ya, there are days and even weeks where I just want to pull my hair out in frustration at these kids. But, then I realize it's because they are so darn special to me. I've said it before, and I'll say it again... I was sent to that school for a reason. I couldn't imagine working with a greater group of kids, a better faculty and staff. The demographics for our school district puts us in a very low poverty, very diverse area. These kids don't have a lot - but they'll give you just about everything they have. The kindness they display is breath taking.
I just simply couldn't have asked for a better class for my first year of teaching. I'm sure they have no clue how much I truly do love each and every one of them... but they do have the most extraordinary ways to show me how much they love me. It's not in their gifts...as nice as they were... it's in their kindness, their thoughts, and their abilities to work together to make me one of the happiest people on the planet - because I get to be apart of their lives.