There are certainly too many to count.
I don't know about you but I am most certainly a words of affirmation type person. It's my natural way to let people know that I love them to affirm and praise through words. It's also one of the main ways that I like to receive love. When someone praises me in word, I remember it for ages and it means a lot to me. Words of affirmation is my love language.
I really wanted to write down today something that just happened, so that I won't forget. And to be reminded down the track too.
There is a lovely family in our school community who is moving interstate next week. I taught their eldest child two years ago. It was a challenging year for several reasons. The child has some special learning needs and this made school less than a safe and happy place normally. We were all getting used to what worked for the child, how we could best support them and how to make them feel safe and happy at school. Their mum, who I now consider my friend, would say that they are not an easy family. I respectfully disagree. Certainly their situation is somewhat unique and there was a fair amount of time spent considering this individual child's needs throughout the year, but it was a delight. In my career it's often been the 'hard' kids that leave the biggest mark.
I love that this family came to my wedding. That at the last possible minute, the child decided to come too. Dressed in Saturday house clothes this child who found change and social interaction challenging was first to run to my car and to thrust a letter into my hand. I teared up seeing them there. I was so glad that they made it. I love this family.
They have celebrated other milestones in my life too. A card when we bought our new home. A gorgeous gift when we found out we were pregnant. And there have been lots of chats along the way too.
Tonight when their mum and I were having a chat after school she spoke to me of the impact myself and another teacher had had on their eldest and their family. I teared up but kept it together. I will really miss them.
To be told that I was a God-given gift to them (and that they are atheists so that's saying something!) :) That the love that I showed for their child made a difference. That they know the motivation for that love came from my faith. That although school times haven't always been great, they don't regret being here because of those two years with another teacher and myself.
That is the affirmation that I thrive on. That touches me and validates who I am and what I do.
I can't wait to be a mum, but I have a feeling that I am going to really miss the special relationships that form between wonderful families like this one.