Some teachers like to keep their personal and professional lives totally separate. I understand and respect that.
However, I am the polar opposite. I love going to birthday parties and baseball games. If the kids invite me and I can go ... I do. I've attended a wide variety of themed birthday parties ... PRINCESS, SPEED-RACER, HULA DANCING, INDIANA JONES, SPONGE BOB, etc.
I think it's so fun seeing students outside of work, getting to know their families and spending time with them is so much fun. And very rewarding for me. I think it helps develop the relationship between me and the students and sets a positive tone for showing (not just telling) them how important they are to me.
This year, I'm happy to say that I also went to quite a few baseball games.
Cooper loves going to my students' baseball games. He relishes in the attention he gets. Lot's of petting and the "Hi Cooper!" yell as they run onto the field to take their positions. I'm always worried Cooper's popularity with the kids will distract their game. That their coaches will get mad at them as they turn their bodies around in the fenced-in dugout to squeal Cooper's name.
When in fact, they try harder to impress. The perfect at-bat. The perfect swing. The perfect fielded ball. The perfect slide into home (or any other base for that matter).
Jay, Cooper and I visited our final baseball game of the school-year, last Saturday. The weather was perfect and the kids were tickled pink that I was there, (or shall I speak the truth: excited to see Cooper).
One girl in particular (a younger sister of one of the players) had a really nice time with Cooper. She sat with him for almost the entire game.
Petting. Loving. Talking. Snuggling. Feeding. Cooing.
She said the funniest thing to me:
Girl: Cooper is so nice.
Me: Thank you sweetie.
Girl: My grandma and grandpa used to have a dog like this, but it died.
Me: Oh no. I'm sorry. When dogs die it is sad.
Girl: It's okay. He's in heaven now.
Me; Oh ... well that's a nice place to be.
Girl: Yah it is! When you go to heaven, you get to be in a hot tub filled with gummy bears!
Later when I saw her mom, I told her what her daughter said. She laughed and said, "We told her that heaven is whatever you want it to be!"
I guess she likes hot tubs and gummy bears!
I've been smiling all week ... thinking of that little girl.
Ah ... Heaven.