My daughter attends a church preschool. Today was "Muffins with Mom" day. I wouldn't have missed it. Two classes of 5 year olds standing on bleachers, following the recorded music and the movements of their teacher. Some swaying, some looking everywhere but forward, a few barley whispering while others belted it out with gusto.
I made it through the first number okay. Somewhere in the middle of the second song, the tears simply started falling. Sweet little voices, angelic faces and the most heartfelt expressions all combined with guileless preschool lyrics turned on the water works. Thank goodness I grabbed a wad of toilet paper on my way into the Fellowship Hall. Even now, the words on the screen are becoming blurry as I recall the morning.
When my first child was 3, I attended a similar event at her church preschool. They read Robert Munsch's Love You Forever. I had never heard the story, and did not make it through the second "like you for always". Eleven years later, I cannot even describe the storyline without falling apart.
I come from a long line of stoic Southern women. For the most part, I am true to my heritage. When it comes to my kids however, all bets are off.
Today I was reminded of the only other woman I know of who responded this way to children. June Thompson. My elementary school principal. A wonderful woman loved by all who knew her. She was so beloved, the school district renamed her school June Thompson Elementary.
During assemblies, we always sang our school song (in a round, led by the all-powerful sixth graders) a few of our school favorites and ended with "Let There Be Peace On Earth". Invariably, she would need to make some announcement or dismiss us at the end. Several moments would pass while she composed herself enough to speak again. Every time we sang, she was moved to tears. She wasn't embarrassed. She didn't try to hide it. She was overwhelmed with joy and thanked us for singing such a beautiful song.
Thank you, Mrs. Thompson for teaching me to feel so deeply and honestly. I truly believe that I would not have the capacity to cherish these moments as greatly as I do were it not for your example.