A few months ago Sara and I had the heartbreaking weekend when we found out that Besher’s beloved teacher, Miss Aimee, was moving out of Austin at the end of the school year. Although Besh was himself graduating from his school, Miss Aimee had become part of his life and a favorite [insert word that means more than babysitter here since that word doesn't hold a candle]. I think there’s little doubt that besides his immediate family, Besher holds more love for Miss Aimee than anyone he knows and that includes people in the Star Wars universe.
We couldn’t blame Miss Aimee for her direction. Not only has she been an amazing guide for the past 3 years at Besher’s school but she also took on the emotional and time-intensive task of being a CASA representative. This, it turned out, was a trial to see if she could take the next step in her journey which was to get her master’s degree and eventually open an orphanage.
So, yes, the world will be a better place for Miss Aimee’s new path and countless children will have better lives for it. But we’re still a bit sad to lose someone like her. So, world, you’re welcome.
There was a plan to tell the children about the changes (the other guide in the class was switching as well, new guides coming in, etc.) in May. When the time came for the announcement to the children, we were unsure how Besh would take it. That he loves Miss Aimee was unquestionable, but whether he would comprehend that she was moving away–we weren’t sure what he would think. He knows he’s going to a new school next year and he’s thrilled for that. But we guessed that he expected he’d still see Miss Aimee, so it was a question of whether the news would connect with him during the announcement or later.
The announcement was last Friday. It connected that day.
I wasn’t there for the announcement or the rest of the day, but let me share this quote from our class’ email newsletter to put it in Miss Aimee’s words:
First, I referenced the work that Keyla [other guide], Laura [pre-primary guide] and I did in Nicaragua and reminded the children that there are others in the world that are lacking the things that we are so lucky to have. I shared that even adults are learning every day and that I was getting ready to go back to school to “learn how to help children that need help”. I explained that it was difficult for me to make this choice, but that I was leaving Athena so that I could help children that needed me.
Apparently part of the longer conversation was that this new path was part of Miss Aimee’s dream. This sank in with Besh, because later in the day the following (probably highly paraphrased) conversation took place:
Besher: “Miss Aimee, you know how it was your dream to go to school?”
Miss Aimee: “Yes, Besher.”
“My dream was that you would never leave. But that’s not going to come true.”
He cried. I’m guessing Miss Aimee fought hard not to as well, just as Sara and I would upon hearing the story.
It’s a mixed blessing, of course. Given that Besh has the Broadway bug like his parents, he’ll be on the East Coast often enough that we’re hoping to connect with Miss Aimee again over the years. It won’t be the same, and that’s okay since Miss Aimee has a new journey ahead of her that will definitely make a world of difference for all those children in the future waiting for her care. But it’s still a sad moment for Besh to part ways with someone who’s been so important in his life.
Miss Aimee, Sara and I don’t have enough words to express what you’ve done. Both in the classroom with Miss Keyla and out of the classroom. To say you are one in a billion is grossly undercounting, and all of your school-parents are probably experiencing the same bittersweet feelings on your departure. Know that you will always be missed just as you will always be supported. And thank you for being who you are.