As soon as I decided I was leaving my job, I started the arduous task of writing letters to each of my fifty-or-so students. I’m not talking about the same letter printed fifty times with only the names changed—no, not that. Not saccharine sentiments about “best wishes for the future” or similar generic fluff. Not that, either. I didn’t find some Pinterest-perfect template. I didn’t look to Hallmark for the words.
I’m talking about fifty one-of-a-kind, individually-crafted letters, the kind of letters where I ripped open my heart and bled onto the page for each of them.
It took months to find the time, to find the words. But I found them. It wasn’t all that hard—I knew those kids so well, and I had so much to say to them. So many good things. So many blessings, so many moments and memories to be thankful for. So many things I’d noticed, so many things I wanted them to know—truths I hoped they’d cling to forever.
Those words were my gift to those kids.
I gave them those letters today, and their response was at once subtle and overwhelming. Some were completely silent. Some laughed, some cried, some shook their heads. Some wrote their own letters to me in response. I got a lot of hugs, a chorus of I’ll miss you’s, and their thanks.
But one boy folded his letter into a tiny square and stuck it into the fold of his wallet, and that was the best response I could have hoped for.