We had been trying to conceive for over two years, complete with all the frustration, medical testing, and experimenting that goes with that territory. We were trying something new that month, hopeful we would be celebrating in a couple of weeks. I was also wrapping up my fourth year of teaching, and I had an amazing group of French 4 students. These students had grown in their language skills as I had grown as a teacher, and we had all made amazing progress on our journey together! Five years later, I still get Facebook messages and emails from them; we're that close! While my students did not know I was carrying this burden, they did know I had been more stressed than usual and had expressed concern. One student (who had spent ten days in France with us on a school trip) even approached my husband after a school event to ask if I was ok!
Mother's Day happened to fall in this time frame of waiting, wondering, and stress as well. It would be just a few more days until we knew if this latest trial resulted in a pregnancy, and my husband surprised me with a present that Sunday. As I opened the little box to find this necklace, he explained that a butterfly was the perfect pendant for me. Whether we were pregnant at that moment or not, he continued, he knew I would be a great mom. I had chosen a career where I took on new "kids" each year, nurtured them, helped them, and taught them. They made me laugh, cry, lose sleep, and feel proud of all they accomplished as they progressed. I was always worried about them and if I could do more to help them learn and grow. If I'm able to take my "caterpillars" and turn them into "butterflies" with just fifty minutes each weekday in a classroom, he finished, he knew I would do wonders for our children. Needless to say, I was a blubbering mess as he helped me fasten the chain around my neck (and I was pregnant!). The perfect necklace as I get back in the routine of school and the mindset of the new academic year!
So, if you're back in the classroom already or still preparing like I am, I challenge you to remember that we are planning, guiding, and aiding in a metamorphosis for each student who walks through our doors this year. They're all at different stages, and some of them are stubborn and would stay caterpillars if we allowed it. Some have more support for the transformation at home than others do. Some will already have their wings, and it's our job to help them fly farther, faster, and longer. As teachers, we have the gift of helping this metamorphosis for not only our own children but also all the "kids" we take on this journey each year. Remember that it IS a process and support it all you can as you watch them build their cocoons and unfurl their wings!