Saying Goodbye to Lily

It feels like yesterday that I walked into the Tigers class and met Lily for the first time. Her timid yet vibrant outlook on life, made all the difference in the classroom environment. She really was a special girl with an equally meaningful impression that was left on my heart. I walked in class today only to find out hours before Lily would be leaving our school. Parents often transfer and relocate because of their jobs and consequently, their entire lives need to follow suit.

Here’s what I learned from Lily: Living life is always about putting that smile on your face. Even when the immediate world around you is foreign. For Lily, she was always a few steps behind her peers in her ability to pick up English and utilize the vocabulary the other students were able to string along to make sentences. However what she lacked in skills and language was far more important than anything I could teach her.

She was always genuinely happy.

And in the most unrestricted happiness one can ever achieve. I suppose it was a mixture of being youthful and unexposed to circumstances and stress we experience part of life.

She was always smiling, always. She travelled the furthest to come to school in a bus ride that usually took about an hour each way only to have to be alert and focused in a classroom for five hours. For a six year-old, that’s asking the world of them. Yet every day she remembered to smile. She also was the first student to learn how to say please and thank you that we worked on in the first six weeks of school and never forgot to say it.

Lily was happy, if I could create the perfectly mannered child who at the age of six saw positivity in everything she did and felt so much for the friend who was sad, or the teacher who was having a hard day and needed a hug, I am grateful I got to know Lily. I will miss her versions of English she used every day:

“Tigers, be quiet please. Miss Katie, then all play time okay?” and “Miss Katie and Miss Mandy (my Co-teacher) I love many many this much” with outstretched arms.

And as she gave me one final goodbye hug today and tears streaming down my face, I saw her running into her father’s waiting arms and she took her sister’s hand as they made their way to the elevator doors to start a new journey in their new home. I’m not worried about Lily, she’ll succeed in life, where ever it leads her.

I’m glad I got to meet sweet, Lily.

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