The day after is always the hardest, and this post will have little to do with math.
I woke up today, and things were off. I tried to keep my daily routine, but I couldn’t. I found myself looking for him, walking to to the things I always have for the past 10 years (let him out, let him back in, feed him, give him the kiddos milk bowls, playing with him before we leave). I cried a lot, this day is hard. I have no focus, I don’t feel anything. It’s like I am living looking through someone’s eyes.
Yesterday I had to say goodbye to my best friend for 10 years, Tracker. Here is a picture I took of him yesterday.
It was a tough day. He has been sick for a while, I kept taking him to the vet-hoping beyond hope that we could find something to make things better. Yesterday was a great day for him, which made it all the harder to say goodbye. He was a rock for me, always there when I came home. He stayed close to me when I was sick. He brought me a ball to play with when I was sad (actually he brought me a ball almost all of the time). There are many things I will miss about him: stroking his fur when I need comfort, walking in the woods when I need to get away, licking me in the face when I am sad, playing tug with me, allowing Brayden and Berklee to lay on him when he was tired. The house feels empty without him there, and I don’t want to go home today.
I also have to think about all the joy that he brought to my life as well. I remember the puppy kisses, chewing my shoes, fetching for the first time, running through the woods and falling over backwards when he flushed his first grouse. The relationship with him was special, the love unconditional. He took a piece of me with him when he passed, he has a permanent spot in my heart. I will always love Tracker and miss him, but he touched me and changed me into the person I am today. I can’t repay him for that.
I think to my students, and their trials they have in their lives. I think of the friends and family members they lose. I see my students acting out in class not because they are bad kids, but they haven’t had their needs met like I have. I am lucky. I have a loving family and friends. I have the opportunities to have and maintain pets who love me, and I love them back. My students do not get this, their parents are still too wrapped up in themselves to be parents. They rely on grandparents to take care of their children, and only care about their kids when they get a call from the school. I don’t mean to over-generalize, and I am not calling anyone out on this- but this is what I get from my students. They never get to experience the unconditional love and support that I have from my family, friends, and Tracker. They have a pet for 2-3 weeks, but then don’t have the means to sustain them- their food, housing, health care. Many of my students come into class and have learned behaviors to attract attention- they need that met, to feel recognized, cared for, loved. If I can meet that need before they feel the need to demand it, the class goes very well for them. If my students did not have to be care providers for their siblings and could be children themselves I think a lot of classroom management problems would be reduced. If they could have and support a pet at home, they would be more resilient as a student, friend, person.
I am amazed today by the care they show me because they know I lost a pet and great friend yesterday, and I can’t help but wish they could have those same opportunities when they leave my school.
Kids need love, unconditional love and support. They need to be able to seek us out when they are feeling sad, alone, confused. They need this, they deserve it. We need to find ways to provide this for them just like Tracker did for me.
It’s funny how He taught me so much without saying a word.