Hello there my friends, I’m out of town for the long weekend. Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend celebrating with friends and family! And that you enjoy A Special Place in Heaven today. I lost a few tears writing it. allie XO
If I had a $1 for every time someone said “There’s A Special Place in Heaven for the mother of three boys” after my third little boy Charlie was born, I’d be sipping pina coladas in Tahiti right now. (That was nine years ago.)
And why didn’t I think to collect back then?
And then my baby Hudson was born, our fourth little boy. And I don’t think people knew quite what to say. Understandably. We didn’t either. (Hudson is five years old now and has Down syndrome.)
Hudson’s diagnosis surprised everyone, mostly me. And Hudson has turned out to be our biggest blessing in disguise.
Well not only is there A Special Place in Heaven for the mother of three boys, but there’s also A Special Place in Heaven for special teachers. If I asked you who your favorite teacher was growing up, I bet a special teacher comes to mind immediately. Does for me anyway. I remember a number of teachers fondly.
But one of my elementary teachers really jumps out. Her name was Mrs. White. And some of you reading also had Mrs. White. She taught 6th grade, and everyone in the school wanted to be in Mrs. White’s class. That’s because Mrs. White treated her students like gold. Sixth graders had all kinds of special privileges the “underclassmen” didn’t.
We couldn’t wait to be in Mrs. White’s class. She was kind, and she also broke the rules. Well, she didn’t exactly break them. She just rewrote them. (But only for the 6th graders.) One of the school rules was you couldn’t eat at your desk except for lunch or snack time.
But one day Mrs. White made caramel apples. Brought them in for the whole class. Let us eat them. ALL DAY LONG at our desks. (Napkins provided.) And one day she brought in gum for everyone. Yeah, the teacher brought in gum. I think there was perhaps a little bit of rebel in Mrs. White. And all of us kids found that pretty exciting.
There’s another category of special teachers. These are the teachers who teach special needs children. They may be therapists or classroom teachers, but these are very special teachers indeed. Hudson has been blessed to have incredibly wonderful teachers and therapists so far in his short little life.
So I came upon the sweetest little scene a few weeks ago. It was Hudson’s last day of school, and I was waiting outside the school door with other parents. Some of the children were coming out, but I didn’t see Hudson yet. A little girl with special needs came out the door, ran to her mom. Her bottom lip quivered, and she glanced back towards her teacher. (Also Hudson’s teacher.) A big tear rolled down her little cheek. She was shaking and sobbing. Her mom hugged her.
And then the teacher noticed. Miss Jo-Ann’s eyes glistened too. She got down on one knee, and that little girl rushed into her arms, hugged her for dear life. It was apparent that this precious 4 year old little girl wearing glasses was sobbing bitterly because she was saying goodbye to her teacher for the summer.
It was a sweet scene and I won’t forget it. I don’t know if that little girl can talk. She never said a word. Just tears. But if she can’t talk, the tears are her language. They say what she can’t verbalize. I can only imagine the joys and sweet times that must have taken place in that classroom.
Stories. Games. Circle times. Snacks. Special hugs and encouragements. Puzzles. Motion songs. It must have been such a delightful classroom experience for her to cry so bitterly when it was over.
The thing about special needs teachers is that their little students often can’t brag on them. They can’t necessarily verbalize all the wonderful things their teacher might have said or done during the day. Most special needs students probably won’t go to a prestigious college. Or become famous.
Special needs teachers pour themselves out with utter abandon because they have a special calling, a real gift. To love unconditionally, to teach with patience and kindness all different kinds of children.
Hudson is attending pre-K during the month of July. This morning I got a call from the school office. Apparently there was a paperwork glitch between the transportation provider and school district, and the bus would not be bringing Hudson home from school today after all. I needed to pick him up ASAP. Unfortunately I didn’t get the call until after school was already out. So when I arrived, all the parents and students were gone.
I walked into the school hallway, came upon another very sweet scene. There on the hallway bench sat two teachers on either end, and Hudson stretched out between them. Thumb in mouth, nestled up against one of his teachers. She was stroking his hair and the three of them were having a nice little chat and snuggle.
This is the scene every parent with a special needs child dreams to happen upon. To find their child cherished, well taken care of. Loved and appreciated for their unique little qualities. Even if the children can’t come home and tell us all about it. These teachers are God’s gift to our family and many others.
There’s A Special Place in Heaven for the mother of three boys. And four boys. And probably ten.
But there’s a private wing reserved for the very special teachers and therapists who patiently and kindly work with special needs children. It has AC. And a pool. And a little bell to ring for the next round of pina coladas.
Got a special teacher that impacted your life? I’d love to hear about them.
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Allie, thank you for sharing ! I”l bet you had tears in your eyes when you picked up Hudson at school.
[email protected] says
What an amazing post! People always ask me why I put so much thought and effort into teachers’ gifts, and your post is the exact reason why. Teachers who respect their students and truly believe in them not only as students, but as people, are truly remarkable. Thanks for such a beautifully written post!
Leslie / LittleGemsUSA says
This story reminds me of my dad. I didn’t know when I was a kid the hard times other students had but as an adult I’m hearing sweet stories from classmates of grace and kindness that dad brought into their lives. ❤️
Great post Allie!
Susan Kline says
You have a beautiful child! I am so glad you found such a loving and caring teaching environment for him. I remember when a friend’s niece’s first child was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome and she was so sad for her niece. I told her about some children I knew who were so swee-natured that they could teach adults how to behave, but she couldn’t hear me. Then she met the baby and rejoiced with the rest of the family in this wonderful new addition! And yes, good teachers everywhere are also special gifts that we all should treasure.
Ruth Anne Fuller says
Wast a lovely remembrance. My dear friend, Peggy Miller, a master Special Ed teacher comes to m,ind as I read your words for today.
She is the one with the kind words, warm hugs, etc. She retired in May after loving so many special students. She will be missed by her students in the fall. Blessings…Ruth Anne
aunt pinkie says
I had two special teachers- Miss Weedon, my kindergarten teacher, and Miss Veatch, my home room advisor on high school’s both caring and loving! Loved reading your blog today- and learning what special teachers- have been there for Hudson!
Allie, I’m crying happy tears, that story is so moving.
My favorite teacher was my dad. I never had him in a classroom but he was Doug’s favorite teacher at Braintree High School. He was teacher of the year for 7 years when he asked them to remove his name to give other teachers a chance. I have met many former students of his and they all have wonderful, moving stories of how he touched their lives.
Susie Mandel says
What a sweet story!! I had some wonderful teachers, but the one I thought of when I read your story was my 2nd grade teacher whom I thought did not like me. I guess she did, because at the end of the school year she gave me her school picture and said some very nice things. Teachers are very special people!
Allie I am so thrilled that Hudson, you and Jon are having such a positive experience at Hudson’s school. I know only too well about those special teachers. I have had many friends that teach and I was a special needs teacher for a few years. It was such a rewarding experience! These special children have the ability to touch your heart in such a special way. I miss those days. I miss being around that special breed of teachers. They are amazing!!!
Barbara Child says
Such a touching post! It takes a special person to connect with and love the special needs children. Glad Hudson has experienced some of them! May he continue to so blessed throughout schooling. I know he experiences that at home! You’re doing an amazing job!
Carina Spring says
What a moving post. Teaching takes hard work and dedication. I am very grateful for my son’s teachers this year (they job shared). Both were seasoned veterans, both caring. They were supportive and proactive as my son coped with some difficult losses in our family, and he consequently was able to have a successful year. Also, my mom, while not a teacher, worked with special needs individuals for many years, and continues to work with them as a volunteer after her retirement. It was her most rewarding line of work, and she truly loved her clients.
Christy Stansbury says
Jacob (21, with Down syndrome, who just finished high school) had a great teacher his freshman year. At the time, there was a particularly disturbing story in the national news regarding consistent, long-term, documented abuse by a teacher in a special ed class. As the parent of a child with special needs and a speech disorder, I found the report especially troubling. How would I ever know if Jacob was comfortable in his classroom setting? He would not be able to come home and report any problems. I’m lucky if I can figure out what he had in his school lunch when I ask him! With this story fresh in my mind, I headed to Jacob’s IEP. The meeting went well, and I felt comfortable with the staff and his teacher, who was a huge hulking man with a bald head. When the meeting was over, his teacher asked Jacob if he wanted to go home with me or stay for the rest of the school day and ride the bus home. Without hesitation, Jacob wrapped his arms around his teacher’s stomach and said, “stay.” I knew then that he was happy and accepted. I was so thankful for the gift from God of a clear sign that Jacob was in a good place. Good teachers make all the difference!
Dear Christy – I love this story. Thank you for taking the time to share it here. I’m so glad Jacob had such a wonderful experience and caring, loving teachers. They make all the difference in the world to our special kids and their families. XO
I probably read this one before….at least this time I’m in the bathroom with Kleenex nearby. So darn sweet…just can’t stop the tears …
Thanks friend, good to keep the tissue box at hand. You never know with me around. Hope you’re having a beautiful summer.
Nancy mcmahan says
Tears in my oatmeal. So beautiful. My heart ached happily for Hudson and his new teacher friends. He will have a good July.
I think he will. Thank you Nan. I hope you and your mom do too. XO
Karla @Small Town Rambler says
Oh my goodness…YES! We have wonderful special needs teachers for our Ethan. It’s definitely a calling- not a career, I would say. What a sweet scene you described of Hudson laying across the bench with his teachers. Sounds like your Hudson has some wonderful teachers in his life!
I’m so glad to hear Ethan has such wonderful teachers too. It makes all the difference for the kids and the families too. Thanks so much for dropping by Karla, I loved hearing from you. Hope you are all having a beautiful summer.
Marye Audet-White says
ALways love reading your weekend posts. Have a wonderful time, my friend.
Thanks so much Marye, that means a lot. I hope you and your beautiful family had a great 4th!
Je crois que le meilleurs enseignants sont ceux qui crois en nous ! Ceux qui connaisse nos faiblesses et nous aident a aller vers l’avant d’une manière positive. Malheureusement je ne pas croiser beaucoup. Un bon enseignante fait tout la différence ! Have a lovely day my friend! xoxo
Je suis d’accord Eva . D’excellents enseignants sont rares et si apprécié . Merci beaucoup d’être passé , je l’aime toujours ce que vous avez à dire mon ami. XO
Thank you Allie for sharing this sweet story. When I taught high school, one of my dear friends was a special needs teacher, Kay Saleeby. All of her students loved her. I am always telling people how wonderful she was with her students and how special she was. It was definitely her calling as Karia said. There is indeed a special place in heaven for special needs teachers.
Dear Robin, every time our paths cross I learn something new about you. Like that you were a high school TEACHER? (Is there anything you don’t do?) You, my friend, are a woman of MANY talents. And I am very thankful for your many gifts. Your friend Kay is a real treasure, and it’s people like her that make the world go round. Hope you had a great 4th. XO
Mandi Korn says
A friend of mine is a teacher of special needs, and she is highly regarded for her kindness as well as her way of actually getting through to her children. When I lived in FL I would visit her often in her classroom and even photographed all her children once. I admired her for her ability to handle all of her students, all with mental and physical disabilities. She was in charge, strict and kind….she was proud of them and saddened by some of them as well. I actually think she lost one recently…..
There is a special place in heaven for her, and I am glad that your Hudson is well taken care of too
Dear Mandi – loved hearing from you. My oldest sister has Downs and I’ve had the privilege of meeting many special needs teachers along the way. I know that you’re an excellent photographer and would love to have seen those photos of your dear friend’s class. I hope you have a beautiful week. xo
I love this!! I’ve been behind reading lately and did not remember the Carmel apple teacher you told me about he other day! Nice memories and wonderful impacts on children. I do just love this piece for so many reasons. ???
Thanks so much my friend, I know special needs children are very near and dear to your heart. xo
Linda Jenkins says
Allie, this is such a special story. It takes a very special person to work with special needs children. Jack often tells me about the few special teachers at Memorial who work with these children. All of these teachers deserve special recognition. God has filled them with such joy and happiness, and they share these wonderful, honest, qualities with every single child. What a wonderful and beautiful world God has created. Bless each and every one of them!
Loved hearing from you Linda, these children are so blessed to have wonderful teachers like the ones you described at Memorial. Hope you’re having a great summer!