Monday, May 05, 2008

Teacher's Pet

Sean's had a terrific kindergarten experience so far. In large part I attribute this to his teacher, who is everything I'd hoped for: she's enthusiastic, caring, creative, empathetic, kind ...

Sean just adores her.

If I hadn't surmised that already, a few recent comments would have clued me in.

It started with Sean's telling me a few weeks ago he wanted to send his teacher a Christmas card. For next Christmas. And that in the card he would write, "Merry Christmas. Can you come to our house on Christmas morning?"

"Mom, you know why I want to send Mrs. A a Christmas card?" he said after telling me about his plans. "Because I love her."

It's odd, in a way, to hear him profess his love for someone other than Jeff and me. I'm not jealous in any way, but I see this sweet, innocent declaration as foreshadowing of emotional attachments -- romantic or otherwise -- that await him.

And then on Friday, after I told him about our plans to go to a baseball game on Sunday, he reflected a few moments. "That gives me an idea!" he said.

He pulled out a sheet of paper and a pencil and composed the following note*:

(C and J are the names of his teacher's children.)

When I explained that we wouldn't be seeing his teacher before the game on Sunday, he was crushed. "Why don't we e-mail it her?" I suggested.

"Oh, yeah! Great idea!"

We had a little chat about how Mrs. A would be so happy he invited her but that teachers like to spend weekends with their families. I hated to squash his dream, but I also wanted to break it to him that she wouldn't be going to the game with us.

Every hour thereafter, Sean would ask if his teacher had responded yet. "Not yet," I'd tell him, knowing exactly that feeling of heightened anxiety while one is awaiting a reply to an important phone call or e-mail. Fortunately, Sean's T-ball team played his teacher's son's team on Saturday. As it turns out, she couldn't even open the attachment to the e-mail!

Sean didn't quite have the nerve to ask her in person, but I explained what his note said. Her huge smile in response meant the world to Sean -- he wasn't the least bit unhappy that she couldn't accept the invitation.

If only I would always be able to protect that big heart of his.

*Sean's made huge strides in reading this year, but spelling... well, that's what first grade is for, right?