On Wednesday we were eating dinner, as usual. My boys, who usually don’t have much to say about school except for their very detailed recaps of the happenings at recess and PE; both were enthusiastically sharing all of the details of Mr. Ford’s impending retirement. I mean they could barely keep from talking over each other. I was trying to follow their story that went something like this “Mr. Ford is RETIRING! He is going to spend his time working on a farm! I wish he would wait until the end of the year. Why do people retire? Why doesn’t he want to come to school anymore. He loves school…” I was a little embarrassed to have to ask, but I wasn’t sure who Mr. Ford was. The boys stopped dead in their tracks when I asked and both said, “THE JANITOR!” This was followed by, “He the nicest person at school! Yeah, he is funny and he jokes with us.” My 5th grade son, Rocco said, “He calls me Taco and I call him Bob. And, mom, I’m NOT being disrespectful, it’s our inside joke.” Gino chimed in with, “He always waves to me. He really likes me.” This conversation made my heart sing. Not only, is it so comforting to know that the adults at school make meaningful connections with my kids, but I also loved the fact they my kids respected and appreciated the custodian. So, I said, “Boys we should get him a retirement gift. When is his last day?” Of course I wasn’t expecting the answer to this questions to be, TOMORROW, but as luck would have it, that was exactly their response. So, instead of a gift from a store, my boys each made a card for Mr. Ford and I think there words are better than any gift I could have purchased from a store.
To the real Mr. Ford, thank you for being who you are. Thank you for loving your job and making my children happy each day. Enjoy your retirement and I hope you know that your impact will last a lifetime.