True Love.

As Colleen is out of town, I’m today’s guest blogger, Rob — her husband of 29 years — which explains why I went full Farm Boy with the headline in expressing my love for Princess Buttercup.

Lol — not the last Princess Bride reference you’ll see from me.

Anyway, it’s not marriage that brings us together today, it’s kindergarten.

Colleen was recently honored by the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools, and selected to receive the 2019 Connie Wootton Excellence in Teaching Award for early childhood education. While the trophy and the check are held in a moment of overwhelming gratitude, her teaching career represents 20 years in the service of selflessly enhancing every single day.

Each unique one of which begins at 4:30 in the morning. With the preparation of thoroughly imaginative lessons and activities — physically employing not only her office but the kitchen and the dining room and creating a convincing argument that our house should be zoned “laboratory.”

So, chronologically, this is roughly 4 1/2 hours before the school day begins. And she does this every day with kindness and compassion and delight.

And without a single drop of coffee.

All of which brings me back to love. From 9:00 to 2:30, she teaches language, art and science, and reads at least two books to her class.

Now, let’s do some math together — Colleen’s been teaching for 20 years — the first 13 of which were spent at St. Andrew’s as a 1st and 5th grade teacher, and she’s in her 7th year at St. Matthew’s, with six years as the kindergarten teacher. (Wait a sec, there’s also 28 years as a mother to two of the kindest, smartest, most talented human males to ever roam the planet.)

Over her 20 years she’s brightened the lives of over 600 kids. Socially, emotionally and intellectually.

At the end of each day, she shows me the class pictures she’s taken. And it is abundantly obvious that her students trust and respect her.

This is a woman whose life is lived in the service of others — a life defined by and dedicated to love. And, per the photo, a life recognized and acknowledged as unique and important and more now than ever, necessary.

And so, Buttercup, true love — the ultimate lifetime achievement award.

Dread Pirate Rob, out.