Sunshine In

I remember the first day I went to Dilley to teach Anna’s first grade class Yoga. I remember making a Facebook post that went something like this: After years of teaching everyone elses children I finally get to teach my very own. I was so excited to be with her in this way and so excited to meet all of her new classmates.

I was very cautious during these times not to embarrass her. I wanted Anna to enjoy my visit and to want me to be around. I figured if I acted too goofy or said anything weird she would eventually ask me not to do it anymore. I wanted to be part of her education and participate with her like I have done with so many other kids in my 15 years of teaching.

I think it is safe to say that Anna loved my visits; they usually coincided with a weekend at her dad’s, so every other Monday at 11:00 we reunited in the gym for some Yoga. She loved it when I asked her to demonstrate and she told me that she loved that I was getting to know her friends. I usually ended our time together asking the kids a crazy question, then going around the circle getting their individual answer, having them give me their name and then excusing them to line up – my way of making connections with the kids and learning their first names. I wanted those connections with Anna’s classmates, it allowed me to put a face with the names Anna would bring up at home. She would tell lots of stories about kids in her reading group, new friends she was making, girls she played with at recess and naughty boys that were bugging her.

Anna always wanted to answer my question last, after everyone else went, making her last in line. In all of my years of teaching there have only been a few students that wanted to be last in line, Anna was one of them. Her reasons were different from others, she wanted to give me a kiss and hug me tight before she left. Being last in line ensured that her and I would be in the gym for a brief moment alone and she could love on her Mama.

For the first time since Anna went to Heaven, I went today and taught the first graders Yoga. They were so excited to see Anna’s mom and I was so excited to see her classmates. I definitely felt a little rusty in my teaching skills at first (I still have not started back to work), but quickly realized that after 15 years it’s kind of like riding a bike. I jumped right back in, having fun, holding them accountable and giving them an opportunity to use their bodies. We stretched, did yoga to music, we ran around the gym and played their favorite game, Dead Fish.

I must admit though, that during the entire class, I had my all time favorite student on my mind. She was so cool, so fun to be around, so smart, so beautiful and rocked it when it came to holding a tree pose. When playing Dead Fish she could lay completely still without moving a muscle longer than anyone else, even when the bear, another student, tried to make her laugh.

I know that Anna was in the gym today watching her Mama play with her classmates. I know that she’s proud of me for keeping those connections and for making sure that, even though they didn’t know her for long, she will never be forgotten.

Looking forward to another Yoga class next week and watching this group of first graders grow up!

Forest Grove Running Club Summer Track and Field Program for Kids 2012

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14 thoughts on “Sunshine In

  1. My daughter, Addison was in Anna’s class and a friend of Anna’s. Addison talks about her all of the time, loves your yoga class and cherishes her bracelet made by Anna. Addison said today as she was making her first rainbow loom bracelets, that she wished she could make one for Anna like Anna made one for her. I told her that I am sure Anna would have loved to receive one 🙂


    1. Your daughter is so sweet Lindsay. Anna talked about her all the time. I know that Anna would have loved a bracelet from Addison!


  2. I am so happy you did this on Friday. I know it must have been hard at times yet comforting to know she was there and proud of you. It makes me smile to know you found Yoga again with her class. I know how much that time with her and her class meant to you. And I’m sure the kids were ecstatic to see you and play with you again! You are an AMAZING teacher and spread so much love and life to everyone you know, but especially to the kids you teach!


  3. There were cheers of happiness and excitement when I announced you were coming!! You fill their bucket….and make each one of them feel special and loved. I loved watching them each jump to high five the green hand :).


  4. You have always made both my boys feel special when you come in. Thank you. I always enjoy when you share with me about their school day as well it makes me feel in a way like I was able to be the one there as part of their day. Thanks for being my insight to their Dilley world.


  5. I can’t help but think how blessed and fortunate you are to have so many wonderful images of your girls. I see the joy and love in the eyes and smiles of your girls as you captured the precious moments of their lives. Together with your wonderful writing, the images give all of us a glimpse into what made Anna and Abby truly beautiful.


  6. Sweet Susan,
    I am sure Anna was still the last one in line giving you a heavenly hug and so very proud of you, love and prayers to you as always💗💗



  7. I remember that fb post. I love the detail of her wanting an extra moment with you after lining up.

    You have always impressed me with you teaching skills and thoughtful approach. I have a list in my head of teachers I admire… People I have mental tapes of their teaching style in mind to refer to when I need a boost to my own teaching / therapy. You have been on this list for many many years. 🙂

    How does the dead fish game work? Sounds like a winner.


  8. Good to see your smiling face at school today! I was on the run and didn’t get to sneak in a hug… feel the squeeze! You are an amazing woman with such positive energy! Hugs and love!


  9. I love that you have been, and continue to be a special part of Anna’s school day. What a wonderful time your girls had with you.


  10. So glad that you had Anna’s classmates to be with today. I know that the last couple of days have been excruciating for you and you most likely needed and appreciated the distraction. I know that the kids loved having you there even though I don’t personally know Anna’s friends. Hang in there and know that there are many people praying for you and Tom…….always.


  11. Brooklyn came home so excited today. She told me teacher Susan had come to do yoga with them. She absolutely loves the dead fish game and she demonstrated on the kitchen floor while I made dinner. Thank you so much for bringing your spark into their lives.


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