I’m floored, and impressed.

Let me explain.

My particular suburb is one of the largest cities in Illinois, but to me it often feels small. For example, our yearly tradition is the Memorial Day parade; the boys march (with their Boy Scout Troop) in the parade, accompanying the Gold Star Families, and I watch the parade. In the middle of our downtown area on Memorial Day, I always, without fail, see about 30-40 people who I know. It’s a weird thing, living in this “big” town but feeling like it’s Mayberry at the same time.

While our town has grown by leaps and bounds since we moved here in the 90’s (and added bigger and better schools along the way), the elementary school in our neighborhood has remained small and cozy, housing somewhere around 400 kids in grades K-5. I loved this school when the boys were students there. Jim loved this school when the boys were students there. And yes, the boys loved this school, from Day One.

In fact, when the older boy started Kindergarten there, he developed a habit which I didn’t find out about until I went in for his Halloween party. I stopped to sign in at the office, and the receptionist told me how she just loved my kid. I gave her a funny look because I didn’t understand how she really *knew* my kid, and she explained.

“He comes to the office almost every day, and sits in that chair (gesturing to the chair across from her desk), and chats with me for a few minutes.”

“What? Why?” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t know,” she said. “I think he just likes to check and see how things are running down here*.”

Indeed, the other office personnel knew him well, too.

The teachers made big impressions too. The older boy’s third grade teacher invited the entire class (and their parents) to his wedding that year. The younger boy’s fifth grade teacher was the one who got him interested in guitar. The older boy’s fifth grade teacher was the one who suggested that he audition for the movies, something that nearly resulted in his becoming Nicole Kidman’s husband.

And then there was Mrs. J, who I wrote about in this post at Mamapedia. I adore this woman. She was very much into scrapbooking (like I was), she was super-friendly, and she didn’t try to hide the fact, when talking to me, that she and the other teachers went on girls’ nights out on a regular basis and–the horror!–had drinks when they did go out. Even better, she always told the kids on the first day of school that she was the “meanest teacher in school”, which was so not true, but she enjoyed that she could create that reputation for herself. I used to laugh when I’d see the long-time custodian push her down the hall to her classroom on a wheeled cart (as she sang) after lunch.

So…why am I floored and impressed?

The experiences that our family was so lucky to have with the people at this school just got a cherry slapped right on top of it this afternoon. The older boy brought the mail in, and was excited to see that an envelope had his name on it.

It was a graduation card from the teachers and staff at our little elementary school: the receptionist and Mrs. J were two of the people who signed it, telling him how proud they are of him. My heart overflows with emotion at this lovely gesture that they offer to their former students from years and years ago.

I think his heart was pretty full, too.

*Which, really, is so funny because that quality stuck with him.

©2010 Suburban Scrawl