The first time we met Miss Gri and her curly hair down the length of her back was almost three years ago. Her bright smiling face and the way she spoke in an endearing Hispanic accent made my oldest run to her and hug her in a big bear hug kind of way. That’s a lot for one who was so shy sometimes. Logan blushed or hid behind me when we saw a teacher when he was young. Gri helped him grow. He learned things in her classroom. And we loved how he blossomed in there.
But the effect Miss Gri had on Christian, my youngest, can be explained with no less than the analogy of how a caterpillar develops into butterfly. This little guy who barely could put a sentence together stepped into her room with his curly and sometimes mangy hair. And in all of three seconds threw his body and all of his energy into a moment of absolute affection. He ran up to her and hit her with a hug that LeBron James would be proud of on the court. That is how Christian feels about Miss Gri.
Christian learned to count to 20 in Spanish with Miss Gri. And we really thought he may go MENSA when he started to tell us what eyes, ears, mouth, and nose meant in Spanish. His memory, or at least what he shared from it, was sharp as a tack when approaching people and experiences that he had within the year in her room.
It became such a common thing to drop him off with her a few mornings a week, chat with her about life and how he was doing lately. Did she think he was close to being done with potty training? How is he dealing after he eats cheese? How is your husband doing, did he find a new job? And everything in between. Life happened and my three-year-old bloomed with Miss Gri. And in the midst of our daily conversation and running hugs, we forgot that Christian wouldn’t be spending the next few years with her in this beautiful world of education and art and love.
And suddenly, I heard he was transitioning.
In daycare world, that means visiting the next room and getting ready to move into it for your next step in school. Your next “grade”, so to speak. Leaving your teacher and your friends who aren’t quite ready to make that hop over to Pre-K Yellow from Pre-K Green.
We went on vacation in the midst of all this, so I felt like he had one more week when we got back from Michigan to spend time hugging her and snuggling with her– this wonderful woman who helped him grow.
But he didn’t.
I went to drop him off in her room when we came back and she regrettably informed me, as I regrettably received it, that he no longer would be in class with her. She had cleaned his nap blanket and pillow case over the weekend and put it into his new classroom. The name tag on his cubbie was gone, a new name taking its’ place.
I walked out that day feeling sad for time going so fast. And tearful over the fact that I didn’t realize it was moving– I was so comfortable in the grips of the moment.
Miss Gri made Christian, and us, so very happy. The chances another little Thorpe will come into Miss Gri’s classroom are slim to none. And there is finality in that thought. A difficult, knot-in-your-throat type reality.
I felt like I needed to leave her something. A note. To explain how loved she is by our family.
And I wrote the note, explaining it all. But my favorite part and the part with such distinct meaning was the front of the card.
This represents who Miss Gri is and also what she grows her children into… like I mentioned earlier… little people who can spread their wings, shine their light, and fly.
Thank you to all the Miss Gri’s out there who do the impeccable job they do with children, the way you sparkle and in turn help them experience pure joy. There is such an impact in your work and the environment you create for children– you have an effect that we as parents will see for years to come.