Despite the fact that I often feel as though I’m on a merry-go-round (my goodness, the fairground metaphors abound this week!! (see my last post)), I have had a joyful reminder that progress is ongoing!  Whether it is forward or backward is debatable at times, but my sticks and strings combined with busy fingers have finally produced a baby blanket for Miss Above and Beyond.

I have to say I’m very happy with it.  I have been knitting almost daily for the past three weeks or so, all the time thinking of all that Miss Above and Beyond has done and continues to do for me and my little ones.  Recently she finds herself facing the Authority and their remarkable ability to pass the buck.  She faces the music and does what is needed for the child concerned.  I do not envy her, but I am more grateful to her than words can say.  So as I knit, with every stitch goes a little love, a little more care, a little hope for her and her new family.  Every ten rows I had to choose the next colour for the blanket.  The pattern I chose created a checker board of sorts and I was aiming for a random “pattern” of colours  – random is incredibly hard to achieve because actually the eye doesn’t like something that is utterly random.  As simple as the pattern was, it required a good bit of sitting back, thinking and deciding.  This is one reason I loved doing it so much.  I absolutely did not want to grab any old yarn, follow a pattern blindly, wrap it up and offer it to her.  I wanted to invest time and thought into a small gift for a great teacher.

“bob” Baby on Board? just one more lovely name for a bump…

I have but a few short weeks left of Miss Above and Beyond’s time.  Following Christmas, she will be busy looking after her new baby and quite rightly buys building her own little one.  Some people find it difficult to understand that I could hold two conflicting emotions in my head, my heart at once.  Well… it is often the case that I can be happy and sad simultaneously.

So.. I am thrilled for Miss Above and Beyond.  There are not many people I know who are more deserving of personal happiness than her, and I am happy and excited to see her put herself first for a change.  This is an absolutely sincere emotion and not at all marred by the accompanying sadness and quite selfish fear.

Sadness?  That’s very simple!  For the past eight years, I have had a close relationship with someone I admired from the first, and who has continued to inspire respect and awe in me.  Social complexities we impose on ourselves mean that a parent teacher relationship cannot easily become a friendship.  Add to that the delicate problems involved in caring for children with special needs, and you have a recipe for disaster if the relationship does not keep a clear professional level.  Treading that line between friendship and professional relationship is very difficult.  On the other hand, it would have been impossible for me to go through eight years of close professional links with Miss Above and Beyond, working together to help three very different children, without first of all baring my soul to her.  And she has managed to find a path that keeps professionalism visible throughout but allows compassion a place.  I feel I know her, and I believe she knows me… sounds like a good relationship to me.  Will it change after she leaves?  Will it survive after my children leave the school?  I hope so, and I believe it can, but I can’t help feeling we are on the cusp of a big change.  Given that, sadness feels like a legitimate emotion.

Fear?  Oh boy yes!!!

Not many teachers in mainstream education have such an affinity for children such as mine.  I know ( I have a very good idea) how much effort Miss Above and Beyond puts into explaining, informing other teachers.  And that education needs to be repeated over and over again.  Then again there is the effort put into all the necessary paperwork, keeping in touch with all the outside agencies (therapies, social services, outreach services, case officers, Authority managers etc etc etc).  It is not by coincidence or naivety that I call her Miss Above and Beyond.  I know full well that the chance of her work being done by a replacement is infinitesimally small.  Superficially I’m sure all will be done.  But the daily support and awareness of how these children are doing?  The constant phone calls, emails and reports to ensure that all is being done in the best possible time to support the children?  A replacement will be hard indeed to find.

My sadness and fear sit very comfortably with my happiness because they are all facets of the same thing.  She is a wonderful teacher, but more than that, she is a very special human being.  For that, I am happy beyond imagining for her happiness.  For the same reason I feel her loss keenly.

For those who find my name a little long (Benedicte), I am often known as “B”.  And I’ve taken to signing my knitting or sewing with a more meaningful “be”.  Especially when I make a baby gift, I hope for that child to hold on for as long as possible to his or her ability to simply “be”.  Without expectation, without fear of failure and with the acceptance that whatever scratches and dents we acquire in life, they all make us who we are.  In the moments that I am able to simple “be”, I’ve found a peace that is really rather special.  So my fairy wish for baby “bob” is … to be!