You may not remember the moment you came into our lives but I sure do. I emailed you when we were still living in North Carolina, now more than three years ago. My husband was deployed to Iraq and Gavin and Noah were at a high school that refused to allow them to test early to accommodate a very unexpected mid-year move. At the time I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I was in North Carolina trying to find a school in California that had a band, lacrosse, and wrestling–one that would also be within 30 minutes of my husband’s next duty station. I didn’t know anything about the area other than what was online. But you were there, like a lifeline on the other end of an email chain.
When we got to Roseville, you had everything ready. I remember seeing your shining face in person and feeling so safe and comfortable after what had been an extraordinarily difficult year on the other end of our move. You had arranged the boys’ schedules so that they wouldn’t be alone at lunch at their new school. I should’ve predicted that Noah would ditch his brother on day two to hang out with the band kids. But you tried. Within a week we were sitting in a conference room with the boys’ teachers who had already assessed how far ahead or behind they were and what they needed to learn to make sure that they were able to finish out the semester strong. They didn’t lose a single credit.
A few months later, you took the time to email me after a pep rally where are you finally saw Noah play the drums for the first time. You got it. You understood just how much he loved music.
The next school year, after Noah had passed away over the summer, you kept Gavin on your roster even though he was supposed to have a different counselor. You didn’t abandon us and were willing to bend the rules a little to accommodate a grieving family. And shortly after school started, in a circle at Noah’s memorial in a dark cafeteria with a candle being passed around by a group of band kids we barely knew, you comforted Noahs friend’s. You cried with them. You cried with us. And for the first time, I saw Noah through someone else’s eyes.
Thank you for taking my phone calls and emails and allowing Gavin to come to your office when life was too much to handle in those early days after he lost his brother. You give a new definition to the word guidance. Thank you for staying interested in how he’s doing and also how we are doing. Thank you for reminding us that we are good parents and that Gav is a good kid in spite of everything that has happened.
Thank you for the random check-ins with me. You made me feel like I always had someone at Gavin’s school who is watching out for him. Thank you for helping prepare him for what comes next. Thank you for helping him figure out how is going to cope with being back at school after yet another devastating injury.
There is no doubt that Gavin’s high school experience has been rough (understatement of the year). But I feel like because of you and because of the kids at Oakmont, Gavin’s life was made as wonderful as it could be given the circumstances.
We’ve moved a lot. We’ve had a lot of people in and out of our boys’ lives trying to help us and guide us and lead us in the right direction. But we’ve never had someone like you. I hope that even as we go and Gavin doesn’t spend his senior year at Oakmont, that you will remember him, Noah, and their parents with fondness. I’m sure being a guidance counselor can be difficult for any number of reasons. But I believe that people have a calling and that this is yours. I will never be able to convey to you how much your kindness and caring has made our life a little easier over this past three years.
They say that God puts people in your life for a reason and I believe you were here to be the rock for Gavin these past three years. There just aren’t words. Thank you so much for being you.