my heart, Ryder Amelia

a letter to Mrs. Janice on the last day of PreK.

Mrs. Janice,

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I typed your name and tears of thankfulness and love are already flowing down my cheeks. I have dreaded this day for so long. The last day of PreK for Ryder. I cannot believe it is here.

You know I wouldn’t be so sad if it weren’t for the fact that the preschool were closing. I mean, I would definitely be sad that we wouldn’t see you next year all the time, but this has such a gut-wrenching finality to it that is so hard to bear.

Today I just want to tell you how much you have meant to me, and I am 1000% sure what you have meant to other moms and dads in Cleveland.

When we found out we were moving to Cleveland, I got on my face and begged God to show me where to send Rory to PreK. She had been torn down and beaten up at another preschool and so had I. I was so tired and weary. I knew that I needed to pray for direction on where to send her in a town where we knew no one. There is not a single doubt in my mind that God led me straight to Weekday because He wanted you as Rory’s teacher.

I want you to know that you completely changed our lives, Janice. Your unconditional love towards Rory and encouragement brought my girl back to life. You put her spunk back in her. I will never be able to thank you enough for encouraging her to be Rory and not some other version of herself. I sent her to school every day with you knowing that she would be loved, hugged, laughed at/with, and shown compassion to. I can’t tell you how many happy tears I have cried over the last two years because I knew my babies were loved so well.

Rory went to Kindergarten with a fierceness and a confidence that would not have happened without your love on her.

Thank you for changing Rory’s life.

The best part is that I also got to send my baby to you. I will never forget Ryder counting down the days until she got in your class.  I was counting down the days too. I knew she would be so well loved and encouraged.

Now. We both know Ryder needs a little kick in her pants encouragement to actually do her work, unlike Rory. Thank you for having so much patience with her and encouraging her. The other day we were working on Ryder’s letters and sounds and she told me, “Mama, you are not as nice and calm as Mrs. Janice is when she works with me.” I got a good laugh out of how much truth was in that statement. Thank you for teaching her and encouraging her.

She has also grown in confidence and matured so much under your care. Ryder will go to Kindergarten with confidence and sass because of you.

Thank you for loving me, too. You’ve seen my faults and seen me in some dark times the past two years. Thank you for your love and encouragement with my miscarriage. It meant the world to me.

Janice, I want you to know on this last day that you are a world changer. I know that your job  might seem so small some days and that it seems silly to think of yourself as a world changer. But you are.

You changed my world and the world of two little girls. You gave all of us exactly what we needed the past two years- love. I cannot think of another person on earth as loving as you. You have loved us so well.

I know that I am not alone in thinking this. Several of the moms from your class and I have talked about how devastated we are that the school is closing and that you won’t be there anymore. It is so important that you know that because we don’t want you to think we don’t care or that we don’t feel outraged/sad/disappointed in this decision to close the school. There are too many amazing teachers there to be able to understand why the school has to close. I hate there isn’t better closure for all of us, but especially you and the staff at school.

I just want to make sure you know on this last day that the school closing as no reflection on you.

You are an absolutely light and joy in this community and world. You have made my days brighter and you have certainly made my girls’ days brighter.

I am eternally grateful to you for loving my children and loving me so well these last two years. I am praying that God shows you exactly what your next step should be. I know your days changing the lives of parents and children are not over.

The Harris girls love you so very much, Janice. Don’t ever forget it.

First Baptist Weekday has been such a blessing to my family. It is a sad mistake that they are closing it. I am praying blessings over each teacher because they deserve better and so many students need to be blessed by them like I have been. Rory and Ryder had such a wonderful time there and have made such great friends! Thank you for the last two years and what a difference you have made over the decades you were open.image2 image1 image3

Oh, Ryder. I cannot believe how much you have grown this year!

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