Of course I loved the energy of the assistant principals late Friday afternoon while we were creating our "Winter Wonderland" - their hearts are so primed to serve. However, the "thank you's" this morning also rang with a sweet spirit. The cups of java were small as were the bite size treats - but the spirit of our team grew large with every word of gratitude.
I hope you have that one teacher in your life who not only captured your mind but also your heart; four teachers in thirteen years of public education reached past the list of names on their roll and grabbed a piece of my heart. Tonight, I received a Christmas card from one of them, Mrs. Marilyn King, my Madrigal coach my senior year and my music teacher in elementary school. At a time in my life when I was never good enough, never talented enough, never thin enough, never smart enough - Mrs. King took time to argue with those lies. She was the educator who gently reminded me of my worth, challenged me not to hide my voice in the alto section, and became my life long friend.
In college, I would enter SHS, my old high school, from the back door skipping the proper check in procedure and visit the choir room just to see her. The joy with which she greeted me never diminished. As an adult, I have sent her a Christmas card every year hoping to give back just a little bit of what she gave me. It never fails - she always gives me more; her card tonight held a handful a sentences conveying warm memories and kind thoughts - but when I read, "I am proud of you and what you have done in education" tears spilled from a eighteen year old's heart. I was her student thirty years ago, and I am still her student today.
As a parent, you hope and pray your children learn the lessons you teach or live. Where you fall short, you pray for God to step in and fill the void, speak to the heart, provide a mentor. I don't know what kind of parent I have been for my boy since his sister was killed. I know there's more oxygen to breathe when he is near or when he says, "Mama - what's for dinner!?" I know that he spends hours watching football and talking about A to Z with his father. I know that when he is really frustrated, he will come and purge all his passionate frustrations. I just don't know what else he observed, perceived, felt - because for reasons only he knows - we don't delve into it. His analytical brain reducing the tragedy to a binary equation - life and death.
Today, my boss and friend of the family relayed a conversation Wade instigated with her - the contents, sincere. His thoughtfulness, his perception, his genuineness with her absolutely stole my heart - just like the first day the doctor held his wet face next to mine. Wherever I have fallen short, the God who sent this marvelous creature to us has filled in - as my sweet baby Wade is still so sweet, wise beyond his years and so very strong and courageous.