Ms. Stefanie, we can be friends again on Monday!

May 21, 2011

We moved to Kansas City from Bartlett, TN (suburb of Memphis) in August of 2008. All of the happenings of our relocation were pretty sudden.  We didn’t know when 2nd grade was done in May that we would be in a new state and new school in the fall. We were able to have a good-bye party with some of Rachel’s friends but she didn’t get to say good-bye to everyone. When we moved we were in temporary housing for a couple of months before we were able to move into current house.  We truly had to trust God to take us to the right house, school and school district. I am very appreciative of the parents who spoke to me and told me the inside scoop about the various schools.  I myself was in mourning but my task at hand was getting Rachel acclimated. My priority was a smooth transition for her.  Jonathan and I had moved five times to four states, but Rachel had never moved.  At the time, she seemed to embrace the move and seemed to slide right into her new surroundings. There were lots of good people who helped with that.  At some point they will each probably get a blog but today is dedicated to Ms. Stefanie.

Ms Stefanie is a para-professional. She is young and works part-time so she can be with her two beautiful preschool daughters. She has been with Rachel every morning for three years now. She is good at her job. She doesn’t help unless Rachel needs help, and she communicates with me so I will know what’s going on. She alerts me to things I need to know. She shares our high expectations for Rachel and belief that Rachel can achieve academically and socially.  For us, at this point in our life, she most importantly she has been Rachel’s friend.  She has loved her. Sometimes that isn’t easy because Rachel sees no need for anyone to help her. She has a bit of an independent streak (hard to believe that my child would be headstrong and independent).  It’s not just that she doesn’t want help; she doesn’t’ think she needs help:  ever!  Ms. Stefanie has managed all of that quite well.  I prayed for God to put the right people in our life in our move and He honored that in many ways. Ms. Stefanie is only one example.  Ms. Stefanie told me once that she loved Rachel like she was family. She comes to her plays and her games and concerts.  And Rachel loves her.  She isn’t always easy on Ms. Stefanie. In fact, one day Rachel told her “You are just a para. You are not a teacher so I don’t have to do what you say!”  Then, she flipped her hair, flashed her smile and said “But we can friends again on Monday, Ms. Stefanie!”  Ms. Stefanie said she wanted to laugh or grin but knew she couldn’t.  What can I say?  SassySouthernGal in training?  Actually, I had a lot to say to Rachel about that little dialogue!

With just a couple of days left in elementary school, Rachel has been a little sad and emotional at school these past few days.  It’s more than just leaving Ms. Stefanie and the other teachers and staffers she has come to love. As excited as she is about being a big girl, there is a certain anxiety about the unknowns of middle school for her.  She tells Ms. Stefanie over and over again that she loves her.  That’s what she does when she is anxious or nervous. Yesterday, they both had a good cry. Last night, Rachel told me “I will miss Ms. Stefanie so much, mommy. I love her so much. She is pretty. She is perfect.”

And I think back to those nervous first days of school in a new place and a new state and wondering who would be there for Rachel. I don’t mean just kids or teachers doing their jobs, but the adult role models, the people that we all need who love us, encourage us and believe in us.  I know that Ms. Stefanie was an earthly gift that God sent not just to Rachel, but also to our family.  Through Ms. Stefanie He reminds me that His faithfulness is always great and that He will always do more than I ever ask or ever imagined!  Thanks Ms. Stefanie for being His gift to our family!

 

Stefanie responded:
I am reading this and crying all at the same time. I truly feel like Rachel and I were brought together for a reason. She has changed my life in so many ways, and not just my life but my families as well. I am not sure how my days will be next year, but I know one thing that I will miss her smiling face everyday!
Love you All,
Stef
Jawanda Mast responded:
Jawanda Mast
I know that God uses Rachel to touch many lives, more than I will ever be able to. But I also know that God has given us many gifts through the people who have come into Rachel’s life! Thanks to all of you who have invested in her and joined our team. You know I tell everyone once you get on Rachel’s team (teachers, therapists, Sunday school teacher, friends, etc.) – you’re on our roller coaster of life ALWAYS! Just ask all my friends who have joined all my many causes through the years!
Jawanda Mast responded:
Jawanda Mast
This is Rachel. I will miss you very much Ms. Stefanie. I love your nice note about me and you. Your story made me cry. Love Rachel.
Anne responded:
Stefanie is amazing! I loved reading this.
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