A couple weeks ago my second grade class said goodbye to Teresa, our student teacher. Within a couple days she gave birth to her and Eric’s new son, Jace. As I have written before, it has been such an honor to be around her as she bravely did her student teaching just as pregnant as she could be.
The delivery was successful, and apparently fairly easy (I know, I know, I am a guy. How could I know? It’s just what I was told). The baby is beautiful and healthy and is making everyone around him happy.
After Teresa finished her student teaching and before the baby, there were a few complications. She had to leave us rather suddenly and have baby Jace. We wrote letters expressing our feelings. I didn’t read the letters until they were finished as I was writing my own. My only input for this project was to say that we should give advice. Being little kids, and on the receiving end of teaching for a few of their young years, they should have some special insight that I couldn’t provide. I asked that the kids give Teresa some advice for a new teacher. Also, being kids themselves, they would have some insight about how to be an effective parent. So, I asked them to think about giving some advice for a new parent as well. That was it. We turned on some Santana instrumentals and wrote for about 45 minutes.
Most of the kids took this seriously. For a long while, all you could hear, besides Mr. Santana, was the scritch scratch of pencils on paper. I made a copy of each letter for the kids’ files. This is the kind of writing sample that really demonstrates who they are as writers. Of course there were misspelled words and some awkward grammar, but the sentiments were so sweet, so sincere. Here are some excerpts from the baby category:
I bet your baby is as beautiful as the sky and land and earth. I bet your baby is happy when he comes out. But sometimes babies do cry. Can I have your autograph? If not I understand. Love, 22 classmates… When the baby is ready to play, play with him. That’s the best thing you can do… I am very happy for your newborn, well-healthied, welcomed, understanding, conscious, eternal, new to this world, thanksgived and finally, baby boy… If Jace takes after his mother he’ll definitely be the kindest boy... Babies are very hard to take care of. They will: wake you up in the middle of the night and early in the morning, cry until they get what they want, follow you around and learn the wrong words… I think you are a good student teacher. You are so lucky to have us, that’s what I think but you aren’t as lucky as me because I have to dance every Sunday at church and it makes my feet hurt a lot. Well, back to you… My heart is full of joy. You are a great, good, nice teacher. You are from the heart and so is your baby. We will never forget you. We will miss you our whole life… We love you and your baby. We will dream beautiful dreams about you and the baby… I am so happy your new baby is coming out. I hope you are not sick or infected… You are in love with all of us. Together we are a team. Do you love me as a teacher? Please say, “of course”… You will be an exciting and amazing mom… Advice: When the baby cries it probably wants some food. Give the baby a little amount of food at first. Don’t shout at your baby… Babies can be a bit demanding sometimes and annoying… You better enjoy it while you can. Babies don’t last forever you know… Teach Jace to read when he is little and he will be reading big fat chapter books by the time he is in first grade… You should read to him as much as you can. Take some time to play with him. Talk a lot to him. Play music. Let him get used to you… NEW BORN: When he comes out ask someone to take notes, draw a picture and take one. Then show it to him so he can see himself. 2 YEARS: Catch his first bug. Take a picture and let it free. KINDERGARTEN: Ask him if he likes to read and write. Surprise him with a pen pal… You are going down in my who-to-remember list. All of your movements are going down on my movements-to-remember list. Jace is going down in my predictions-to-write-down list… Say “I love you” to the end of space and back… Be with him as much as you can. Teach him different and new things every day. Read him bedtime stories so he won’t have bad dreams. Love him with all your heart... It’ll now be hard to sleep at night. “WAAA, WAAA!” The only fright you’ll hear at night instead of the sweet sound of “ZZZ”… All of your stress will go away when the baby falls asleep. The only good part about having a baby is cuteness… Fill him with love and care all through the day and night. FUN + CARE = LOVE… Let your baby eat a candle on its first birthday… Give your baby lots of love. Read Jace bedtime stories. Play with Jace. Check on Jace every night. Feed him with love. Hug Jace every day. Thank you for bringing another loving person in this world…
My letter was no funnier, no more well intentioned nor more sincere. From the pencils of babes…
Thank you, Teresa and Eric, for bringing another loving person into this world.