October 25, 2013

The Life of a Teacher's Wife

So, if I haven't already told you...my husband is a teacher.  To be precise, he is a 4th & 5th grade teacher who is REALLY good at what he does.  In fact, I run into teens and adults on the daily who were his students in the past.  And they all have fond memories of their time in "Mr. Pratt's class."

Sometimes, I get the chance to come along and experience the work life of my husband.  Whenever I bring him lunch or drop off something he left at home, I inevitably end up interacting with his students.  And it's always a joy.  Since he has the same group of students for two years in a row, he really gets to know the kids well.  And in turn, they get to know me.

Over three years ago now, Michael had a really great group of 4th graders that were in his first "loop" lasting two years.  They all got to meet me before I was "Mrs. Pratt" - actually, when I was on my first visit to the school in order to attend our wedding shower there.  The hubs had yet to proclaim our engagement to the class...in fact, he introduced me as his "good friend."  But one of the more intuitive little girls in his class saw the sparkle in our eyes and put the pieces together.  Before the end of the day, the entire class realized that their single Mr. Pratt would soon have his Mrs.   

When that class moved on to 5th grade, they took the annual 5th grade right-of-passage voyage into the forest at Bradford Woods, Indiana University's Outdoor Center.  I remembered going there as a child myself (loved it!), so I jumped at the chance to be a "cabin mom" for a couple of nights...especially with a group of girls that I had grown to adore!  The evenings in the woods were filled with glee under the stars and around the campfire.  The nights in the cabin were filled with smiles and tears, as both fun times were had AND girl drama wreaked havoc in the night watches. But I loved every minute of it.

Fast-forward to this year's trip.  I gotta' say, I was less than thrilled.  I had been visiting Michael's class more infrequently this year, and I didn't really feel like I had a good connection with his kids.  So when he asked me about coming to Bradford Woods this year, I said I would IN A PINCH - but I really wanted him to try to find another volunteer first.  He agreed.  But one thing led to another, volunteers fell through, and I was on the docket.  I somewhat begrudgingly acquiesced.  But after all - due to my work and the documentation that follows, I was only going to be able to be there for the nighttime cabin stays anyway.  No biggie.

Once there, though, I remembered the love I had for little-girl time.  Brushing hair, making beds, dispensing bite-sized nuggets of advice to appease random queries...I loved every minute of it.  Again.  With a new group that I didn't even really know that well prior to the trip.  God's grace shone forth, and I was blessed in a way I did not deserve or even ask for.

Proverbs 31:11-12 (ESV) states, "The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good and not harm, all the days of her life."  I want to honor my husband.  I want to be his helpmeet.  I want to do things for him with a willing heart.  My husband trusts in me and my abilities, and I want to do him good all of my days.  When he asks a task of me that he trusts I will do well...I want to say, "Put me in, coach, I'm ready to play!"

When I arose this morning to the sweet, little snores of 5th grade girls, I thanked Jesus for the blessing of being able to serve my husband in this way.  And I thanked Him for the chance to do girls' ministry in yet another fashion - by ensuring that the girls in his class felt safe, sound, and cared for on their "big 5th grade trip" away from home.

This is the life of a teacher's wife.  

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