We got a notification that the teachers from my kids’ school were going to be caravaning in their cars through the neighborhoods so they could see their students this week. Everyone at home agreed it sounded like a unique idea, and my daughter especially had started to miss school. So we grabbed our sidewalk chalk and headed to the driveway to write a message as big as we could fit.
On the day of the teacher parade, we went to the front yard to wait. In the distance, we heard a barrage of horns honking. We got excited. We knew they were close.
We saw a line of cars turn the corner and head down our block. The principal lead the pack. She stopped, hung out the window, and greeted my kids by name. She thanked us for coming out to see them. I opened my mouth to thank her, but my voice got stuck in my throat. It sneaked up on me, but I knew if I spoke I was going to become an instant blubbering mess. I didn’t want to open the flood gates at the very start, and I wanted this to be a happy experience for my kids. So my husband gave me a funny look, waved, and thanked her for all of us.
We waved at my kids’ teachers from previous years and their current teachers. So many of them called to my kids by name. Everyone was pointing as they drove by and yelling out how much they miss the kids. The whole time I teetered on being a smiley mom who was just an instant away from becoming a ball of tears.
But then I saw my son’s aide. There went the woman who has taken care of my son for the last two years. She has protected him and nurtured him. There went the woman who has eased our minds about sending our son with autism to school every day. Out of pure reaction and gratitude, I throw my fists in the air as high as I could and yelled her name as loud as I could. My son saw her then. I heard him whisper, “Oh wow,’ to himself. Whatever was hitting me hit him at that moment too.
At first, I felt silly for getting so choked up. After talking to other parents about it though, everyone admitted it had made them emotional as well. All this craziness became real to me. It made me sad that our kids will not be returning to finish the school year and giving proper goodbyes. I was also moved by the teachers and staff. I was reminded that they are a major reason why we haven’t been in a bigger hurry to move out of our house that we have outgrown by a few years and a few kids now. It made me feel a part of something during a time when we are supposed to be practicing distance. It made me feel a lot, and I felt it all at once.
The teacher parade was pretty amazing. I think we all needed it.