Jen Bruton, the mother of a first-grade child at Provo Peaks Elementary, shared her experience when the elementary school did its "parade" on March 26:
When we woke up and saw dark clouds, my first grader was really concerned. His first question was, "Mommy, will I get to see my teacher today?"
I let him know that the rain/snow could possibly put the parade off, but that it could all clear up by the afternoon.
"I hope so," he said, "because I haven't seen her in a long time and I want her to see my sign."
The day before, he and my mom had painted a sign that he could hold up. He really wanted his teacher to know where we live and be sure to see him.
From the day we found out they were going to do a parade, he would say things like, "Make sure they come down our street," "They need to know where we live," "How will Miss Butler know where to go?" and "Will you send her our address so she knows where to go?"
Of course I assured him that they would come down our street and that people at Provo Peaks know where we live.
I felt really bad for my preschooler, however. He goes to Sunrise Preschool, which is attached to Provo Peaks but not really a part of it. He kept asking me about his teacher coming and if he would see Miss Keirsa. I texted her and unfortunately she hadn't been notified about the parade so Sunrise wouldn't be participating. My poor little guy was so disappointed and actually cried. He asks me often when he will get to see Miss Keirsa again and when he can tell her all about "the sickness," as he calls it.
All day the boys kept asking me when it was time for the parade.
"How will we know?" they asked. "Are you checking Facebook, Mommy?"
When we heard the honking from a street away, we ran outside, wrapped in blankets since it was cold and stood waiting at the end of our driveway.
This parade was both lovely and terrible for me. I would get emotional every time I started to think about it. My boys both love their teachers and have been begging to go back to school. I recognize that there is a chance that neither of them will go back to their classes this year. We could finish out first grade and preschool without any more in-class learning.
One of the hardest parts of all this for me is that I know they are missing out on so many things that bring them joy: going to school, playing with their friends, the routine and dependability to school -- but mostly the love and care of their teachers. Children NEED to feel love. And when someone outside their family shows them they are worth something, that they are worth time, effort and listening, it means a lot to them.
My children get a lot of love and attention at home but I know that not all children do. For many, their teachers could be the only ones who say, "You are worth something. You have value. You matter and I love you." I ache thinking about those children, as well as my own, who crave the listening ear and smiles of their wonderful teachers.
When we actually saw the teachers go by, my boys couldn't stop smiling. They waved, jumped up and down holding the sign, and were so excited. The principal, Mr. Burge, knew my son's name and called out to him from his vehicle. All the other teachers who knew him said his name and waved, and he just smiled and smiled.
When Miss Butler went by, she stopped right in front of our house for a moment and said hi. My sweet little first grader could not stop smiling while I was trying to hold in my tears.
That night, as we went to bed, he said, "Mom, seeing my teacher was the best part of my day. I hope they do another parade. Maybe tomorrow?"