Support For Christi Thomas

This blog is to help offer support to the Thomas Family and their daughter, Christi, in her battle against cancer. Please visit Christi's website at www.ChristiThomas.com to learn more. There, you'll find journals, photos and a lots of other information about this amazing child and her family.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

New School

I'm certain I've shared this one before, but it's an "oldie but goodie" hee hee! Christi was always a "root for the underdog" kind of gal. Reflecting back now upon how much she loved watching "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and reading the books, it is no wonder she used to dress up as a reindeer, build Lego reindeer, draw reindeer and take a reindeer pillow to preschool. When I turned her p.b. sandwich into a reindeer at preschool one day she was so happy when the teachers held it up to show everyone. (cut off crusts, cut them diagonally, smash in small curly pretzel (antlers), raisin eyes and a "red hot" for a nose. (very cute!)
If I shared this family photo last year, I apologize for the repeat. Christmas 2001 - our last Christmas before Christi was diagnosed and things forever changed.

Today day was filled with strong emotions - good & bad. As soon as the students arrived at school today, they loaded up their things and we got on the big yellow bus and headed for our brand new k-12 school, about 10 miles away. I joked with my students all morning about not wanting to get the award for the teacher who lost the most boxes. After school yesterday, forty-five VERY LARGE boxes were stacked out in the hallway containing all of my teaching materials. This morning, incredible community members loaded them onto a semi trailer while we gave our students a school tour and showed them how to work locker combinations. (OK, we as staff members, forgot to tell them not to lock their combinations in their new lockers - oops!)

We did not know if the semi would arrive before our students had to get back, so that a new set of kids could go, or not. I kept joking with my homeroom, better your backs carrying 45 heavy boxes filled with books than mine!! When we received the announcement that the semi had indeed arrived and students could begin loading, I jumped up and down for my sweet, sweet students who only shook their heads and laughed at me. They were AMAZING!! In about ten minutes, all of the boxes were stashed around our incredible classroom and they were asking what else they could to to help. The first thing I got out and set up was Christi's picture and the second thing I did was cover a bulletin board with a very colorful background. (I need COLOR! Everything is so "clean and new" - and beige in the new school.) This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and never did I ever believe in my teaching career I would see this come to life! So many people worked so hard and are so deserving of thanks!

(Keep in mind Christi was almost always airsick when we flew on a small plane. This is not the most flattering picture of her, but she was indeed happy to look down and see her new school would be.)

On the other hand, I just kept thinking about the night the levy passed and how we let Christi jump up and down on our bed because she wanted one new school for all of us, instead of three very old schools in three different communities. I looked at her classmates many times today, blinking away tears wondering how tall she'd be and how excited she'd be.)

Because she was in Philadelphia in the hospital during the groundbreaking ceremony, her Angel Flight Pilot (and also her funeral director) flew the plane over the school site so that she could see the progress. I remember praying that day for her to be alive and to be able to attend that school.) When a sweet "blogger" (and our favorite newspaper journalist) emailed me that today she came across pictures of Christi that I had never before seen, I had to take that as my sign that Christi is indeed moving into that new school with all of us!

Tomorrow, I will walk out of the place where I have been blessed to have been employed for the past nineteen years. A place where my relatives went to school, where Shayne and I went to school and religion classes and the school Christi attended and Shayla has loved too. I do not want to be there on the day when it is demolished, because there already is a huge lump in my throat and I know walking out of that building tomorrow will be tearful for me. (Not Shayla! She LOVES her new playground!) The place is really incredible. I am filled with gratitude that I will be moving in with amazing (and downright silly) colleagues and students! What a blessing!

I came across this page in Christi's Preschool Scrapbook I kept for her. It was a page of things she could do herself! I had forgotten how she used to write "books" for the sweet ladies at the Upper Sandusky Library and she would "donate" them. They told her they kept them in the breakroom so they could enjoy them on their breaks. She was four years old and they made her so happy!
Shayla, Christi & Shelby play in the snow. (2001)

7 Comments:

At 20/12/07 9:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing how attached we become to our surroundings?

As a child, I moved frequently - so I never got attached. I have now taught at the same school for 34 years and cannot imagine walking out the door for the last time. I told a friend today they would have to take me out head first in a big box....

I hope our constituents will be as generous as yours were when we put our building proposal before them.

Time marches forward whether we are ready or not. Enjoy your new surroundings and keep wonderful memories of the past.

Merry, blessed Christmas to all of you.

 
At 20/12/07 10:18 PM, Blogger HeatherB said...

Congratulations on the moving into the new school!

I know it must be bittersweet that Christi is not there with you in body- but I definitly believe she is there in spirit!

Your students sound wonderful! What great young people.

Thanks for sharing great pictures of your precious one! I delight in seeing each one.

With love and prayers,
Heather

 
At 21/12/07 7:17 AM, Blogger Isabel said...

Merry Cristhmas.
Kiss.
Isabel
Portugal

 
At 21/12/07 1:57 PM, Blogger Olivia said...

I've had this poem for years, and as I was reading it today, I thought of you.


Don’t think of her as gone away –
her journey’s just begun,
life holds so many facets –
This earth is only one.

Just think of her as resting
from the sorrows and the tears
in a place of warmth and comfort
where there are no days and years.

Think how she must be wishing
that we could know today
how nothing but our sadness
can really pass away.

And think of her as living
in the hearts of those she touched
for nothing loved is ever lost –
and she was loved so much.

E. Brenneman

 
At 22/12/07 12:41 PM, Blogger Kimberly said...

You guys are too cute. I love the pics!I hope this Christmas brings you magic and peace.

Kimberly

 
At 22/12/07 1:52 PM, Blogger Olivia said...

What beautiful pictures! The one of Christi tying her shoe lace is precious, especially with little Shayla's expression behind her.


Much love to you all,
Olivia

 
At 22/12/07 3:15 PM, Blogger Tawny said...

I believe you only shared that red ornament holiday picture with just the girls last year, no repeat! :) The girls look precious in all of these pictures you share. It's simply amazing at all of the things she learned to do at the age of 4 and how giving she was even as a preschooler. Love and miss you Christi! Congrats on entering the new school! I can't imagine how hard that was knowing how much you prayed for sweet Christi to have been able to attend also.

P.S-I just donated to her giving tree :) I went back to the Dec 06 posts and found her code, 22434 incase you want to post it.

 

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