Tonight was our first official kindergarten parent teacher conference.
I was anxious, irritable, and bordering on depression. And that was before we got there. Jason kept trying to lighten the mood, which only made it worse for me. ( And I guess for him, in the long run, too.)
I knew what she was going to say, and I just didn't want to hear it again. So I was in knots. And she didn't say it.
Oh she said some of it, but differently than all the others had.
She started out with what she liked about him. And she was genuine.
I feel like I've watched people lie about this so many times I can tell it right away. She didn't lie.
She addressed what she knew we already knew, as simply she could, knowing that we are doing what we can.
She said she had sat through meetings like this with her own son, listening to people just take away hope, and she vowed to never do that to another family. (It's the most passionate I've seen her be in telling a story.)
When we made it officially "off the record", she felt free to share what she thought we might be dealing with, confirming what we've been trying to figure out for the last 4 years.
And she gets him. She gets his heart. She know what he wants to be (right now, not just when he grows up.) She wants him to succeed, and knows he's going to have a rough road. She doesn't mind being tough on him. And she doesn't miss for a moment the beauty in him for all the annoyances and tiring behavior. She is invested in him.
God knew how much I needed this lady to come into our lives, and especially his.
Just a few of you may remember his issues with fingerpaint from when we first moved here.
He just doesn't do it. Freaks him out. He's been put in time out, lost points, etc, for not participating in projects involving fingerpaint. Doesn't matter to him.
Well, she wanted him to paint a pumpkin, and let him have a brush instead, while the rest of the class dove in. She kept her eye on him, even as she worked with the rest of the class. He kept working, eventually letting a finger touch the paint, then two, back to the brush, then a finger again, etc, etc.
Eventually, he did it. Brush down, both hands moving in big circles in the paint. And when he looked up & called to her, surprising himself and wanting her to see, she was already there, digital camera in hand, grabbing the moment.
She put the picture on their class website. He loves it.
To everyone else it just looks like a kid holding up messy hands at school. Looks like a lot of other kids. Which for him, is not so common. To Eli, to her, and to us, it spoke major victory.
And she was invested enough to not only know it, but to care and be ready.
Now THAT is a teacher. God is so good.