May 2012

I had one of the greatest honors of my life the other night.

The three teachers who comprise the teaching team in the three separate, structured classrooms for autistic kids at our elementary school and the two teaching assistants in J’s class were honored by our local autism society as the Teaching Team and Teaching Assistants of the Year.

We’ve been at this same school since J began preschool almost four years ago. We have been thankful for our teachers and the school approximately 30 times an hour from the first day he walked in those doors. After everything we’ve been through together, they are basically family to us now. If there were an autism Mount Rushmore, we believe they’d be on it.

There’s no way to fully capture the depth of their skill and passion for teaching our kids. They have done more for them than we could ever write out completely. And there aren’t enough words to express our gratitude for them. But I did try.

As part of presenting them with their awards at the banquet, I read this piece I wrote in honor of everything they have done for us and all the families at our school. When someone does this much for your child, you can’t ever repay them for it.

But it was my privilege to stand up in front of a room full of their peers and administrators and say with my heart that these amazing teachers have, through their talents and love of our kids and teaching, given us a gift beyond value – a hope-filled future for our kids. And we hold them up as the highest examples not only of teachers but of people. We should all aspire to be as awesome at what we do in life as they are.

These are my words of thanks to them.

—–

We Will Remember

For every new word our children speak,
for every hug and smile they give us,
We will remember.

For each marvel our kids amaze us with,
for every act of kindness they share with another,
We will remember.

For encouraging and believing in our dear children,
for making each child feel like your favorite,
for helping them to love and feel loved,
We will remember.

For every scary new thing they bravely attempt,
for every problem they solve on their own,
for every so-called ‘impossible’ goal they achieve,
We will remember.

For being an unshakable team when so much seems against us,
for your lessons of perseverance,
for teaching us that together we are stronger than we are alone,
We will remember.

Someday when our children walk across the stage,
when they get their first paycheck,
when they go to live on their own,
We will remember.

For as far as they will yet go
we know how far they have come.
We will remember
that you made this possible.

For your amazing gifts,
for your gift to us
of our children’s bright future,
We will remember
and speak your names with honor
as the foremothers of their futures.

We will remember yours is not just a classroom.
It is hope,
a haven, a sanctuary,
a place where wonders are born and reborn every day.

We will always remember.

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