Growing Up

I actually predicted this, months ago.

In the late August heat, moving quickly, almost randomly, from classroom cleaning, decorating, planning, meetings, and back to cleaning once more.

Sometime, standing in the doorway between the classroom that held you last year and the one we share now, I said it.

She’s gonna grow up this year, I think. 

I suppose we were talking, there in the paused moments between aching backs and piles of supplies yet to be organized, about children turning to preteens turning to teens. And I thought of you, weeks before you even called me your teacher, and somehow I knew that I’d watch a young woman appear where a little girl stood, this year.

I had forgotten about that conversation.

Until today.

I saw a glimpse of that young woman this morning. In the chill of our drafty room, you pulled your scarf, coat, gloves from the hook over your cubby, swaddled yourself in layers right there in the middle of math.

I glanced around the room; a teacher’s constant- even subconscious- survey of who is tracking, who is struggling, who is counting imaginary clouds, and I saw your profile. Round cheeks thinning, face lengthening, your gaze fixed peacefully, intently, on the work at your desk.

You were older, in that instant. Beautiful.

You’re goofy, talkative; an 11-year-old bundle of passion, your uncertainty and desire for approval vaguely masked under your loud laughter and all-in approach to everything you do.

We clash, occasionally. Your enthusiasm, your giggles in conflict with my desire to communicate something to you and your peers. I ask you to tone it down, to track with me, to allow your peers to focus.

And you do.

But I was reminded today that your days as a 5th grader are limited. In the blink of an eye, really, you’ll be beyond my doors, beyond my classroom, beyond my reach, almost.

Every day here- in our class, at home, no matter where you are- is a step towards your adulthood. The pieces, the glimpses that I see now will come together in the years to come. You’re becoming now who you’ll be then, although really, we’re all still growing, learning, becoming.

But I want you to know, now and forever, that you’re beautiful. You’re dynamic and opinionated. You’re creative, organized, and a leader- even when you don’t mean to be.

But most of all, I want you to know, I promise you, that the seeds of growth, the tiny movements you see in your life today, will only grow bigger. Following Christ, allowing Him to make you and teach you and mold you can only bring you further, take you deeper, teach you more.

And that, really, is the most exciting thing about growing up. And in you, my girl, it’s a wonderful thing to watch.

~Miss Shull

p.s. I totally can tell that you have a crush on him. And even that weird, complicated, painfully funny thing will be okay.

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