One of my goals is to learn to stop wallowing. Yesterday's post was me wallowing in some disappointments. Happily, it is difficult for me to get too deeply into them anymore. I whined for a while, then posted the whine here, then interacted on facebook for a while, then gave up and went into the Happy Room to stitch. Then I got cleaned up and went to bed. (There were no brownies.)
And got up this morning to find that one of the Monarchs had emerged. I gathered him up and took him out to the duranta. The blue flowers are favorite nectaring flowers of the butterflies and bees and I like to release the Monarchs there so they can get a sip if they need it before taking off.
He immediately left the flower and flew back to me, clinging to my chest. I assured him he would not be happy there, plucked him gently free and returned him to the flowers. This time he left the flowers, then fluttered around my face for a second before attaching himself to my lower lip. He stayed there for several seconds before I lifted him back to the flowers.
Note to self: butterfly kisses feel different when delivered by a real butterfly.
Then I headed for work. It was the last day that I would spend in the classroom with my eighth graders. I did some purging in preparation for closing the classroom for the summer. At the beginning of my third period class, a small mob entered the classroom with a gift for me.
I can hardly stand it. I was not able to not shed a happy tear. Or maybe two. The whole group was boys, and I didn't want to embarrass them so I got myself under control.
It's a chair. They made me a chair. With their own hands. Using nothing but hand tools.
One of my colleagues did an elective this year called Contemporary Issues. It was a year-long class and he knew there was no way they would last a whole year on the online news assignments, so he (another history teacher) developed a research topic that would culminate in a Contemporary Issue.
The history of production.
The kids first had to go collect rocks and sticks and other natural materials to create tools like the cavemen did. For the second step they had to carve something out of a block of plaster using only plastic spoons and metal files. This represented the Artisan period. For the third stage they were allowed to use hand tools like saws and miter boxes and screwdrivers to make these chairs. Finally they were to design something that would be produced on a 3-D printer.
And then a handful of lucky teachers were awarded a completed chair. Their teacher told me later that they made all the choices; all he did was provide supplies and instruction. They even picked a piece of adorable princess fabric for the seat. Which, they pointed out "is soft."
I had one of the boys who worked on the chair sit in it for a picture. He said that he learned a lot from this experience. Like that he never wanted to be a carpenter. "It's hard! It was hard to build that chair!"
But the day's happy surprises didn't end there. Oh, no.
One of my other students (sitting in that class when the chair was delivered) presented me with a menehune necklace from the Aulani Resort in Hawaii.
She and I share a love of things Disney and we both hope to visit Aulani someday. She chose the hotel for her Genius Hour project (and now I know how many years in the future it will have to be before I can afford it). She is such a generous soul. On the day of her presentation she gifted me with a Mason jar gift that included rubber stamps in my initials, two silk plumeria hair clips and a handful of [imitation] sand dollars, some drilled for buttons.
I really did cry, then.
My students don't usually give gifts on last day, but this year they did. Some Starbucks cards, a movie card for the local theater and a scented candle.
And lots of hugs.
I can't get over it.
Don't want to.