Pat is watching The Simpsons while I read blogs and Facebook posts and I just finished reading a blog entry by Sarah Wilkinson of http://thewritehodgepodge.wordpress.com. If you take time to read her writing, trust me, you will be over-whelmed by this woman’s beautiful writing. And I’m blessed to have been her teacher. God, I love her.
So, I have been a bit frustrated today…I’ve been thinking about someone being a little catty which irked me quite a bit which irked me because I didn’t want to be irked about a little bit of cattiness because it’s just someone being a little catty which is irking but not that irking…not in the grand scheme of things.
But it irked me and I was thinking about posting about one of my favorite Bible verses…I just realized I’ve been saying it wrong all these years (hang my head in embarrassment): “Judge not lest ye be judged.” And then I pulled up Facebook and saw this lovely comment from Shelley (who is amazing). And I was feeling all warm and happy and then I saw that Sarah had posted so I skipped over there and I saw a picture of the two of us when she had won (for the second year in a row) the English Student of the Year award and I felt even better. And then a lovely, dear friend Greg liked my post and that was it. Three lovely moments. God has lovingly bopped me on the head. So it’s time to forgo the cattiness and focus on the wonderful.
Angels in my rearview mirror, the people who guided me, helped me, gave me advice when I needed it but didn’t want it. People who shoved me down paths I needed to walk….People who were and are angels….
Like Mama Katie: I’m skipping about fifteen years here and a lot of people but I’m going to come back to a couple of them…Mama Katie, the AP Latin teacher whose classroom was across from mine, who asked me, one day, to be her daughter. How do you say no to that? I snorted back tears (come on…it’s me….I can’t do anything gracefully…hence my pen name) and hugged her and was grateful for an angel who resided across the hall from me. She is the kind of woman who takes the roughest students and shows them the kindness that is within them. I had one student, Ricky, who was a bit of a stinker. I sent him over to Mama Katie and he was pushing her cart to the office daily. Another student, Will, went to her daily for a hug, because she needed it (at first) but he needed it more, daily. I remember one time talking with her and just breaking down and sobbing my heart out on her lap. I wrote her a story (that I need to find and send to her) about a raccoon she fondly named Miss Kitty. Mama Katie is God’s Earth-bound angel who loves with a generous heart and a passion for others.
Like “Papa-Greg,” a friend I knew in college who used to intimidate me with his intelligence and maturity. And then I passed out. And he caught me. And he basically carried me to my dorm room. And then I realized that he was nothing more than Christ’s love walking the Earth. An angel in a Volvo. I shoved aside my anxiety, shyness, and intimidation and adopted him. Greg is a man who lives for the Lord and, in doing so, gives to others without thought of himself. He is naturally good, naturally kind. And he was always hounding me to write…
Much like Irene, one of my dearest friends in college, whom I called Auntie Em and/or Kanga because she was the mother-hen to our bunch of friends. I was the crazy one, called Tigger, and she was the one who held the string tied around my ankle to make sure I didn’t fly over the side of the Earth. When I foolishly prayed for a boyfriend, God gave me Irene. Of course, I fussed at Him that He sent someone with the wrong gender…but He knew better and ignored me and gave me a best friend, which was exactly what I needed. Irene read my foolish love stories that made Twilight look good…but I was lonely and she understood the texture of loneliness.
Back in the present…one of my biggest angels is my work-husband, Kyle. If I ask for help, he is there. When I am sick, he is the one scolding me for not calling him so he can pick up my lesson plans and drive them to work for me. Note, Kyle is my friend….I AM NOT HAVING AN AFFAIR! I really love my rotten snake corpse….I mean Pat. He is my heart beat. Kyle is my best friend. The joke is that because we are such good friends and everyone sees us together (when Pat is not with us….this is a good, family friendship) that many people thought I was married to Kyle. Except for the people at the gym…when the Boy was about four, he ran into the gym, screaming at the perfect time, “It’s my daddy’s boyfriend!” Poor Kyle, if people didn’t think he was married to me, they would think he was married to my husband. And Kyle was going to the gym to meet ladies. My family totally ruined that for him.
And then, there are my students….for over twenty years, my life has been refined and redefined by my students. So many names….so many names…Gaston, Alison, Stephanie, Brad, Stephanie, Lauren, Hayley (another post for you later dear one), Robbie, Matt, Dan, Eliot, Melanie, Jin, Gray, Stevie, Jake-C, Karishma, Michael, Micheal (Mom), Bethany, Alexa, Matt, Mary, Jeff, RJ, Josh, Cammy-Cakes, Asya, Angela, Dani, Haley, Greg, Heather, Lavon, Mimi, Brooke, Carlee, Eric, Tim, Ian, Katy, Kim, Austin, Brett, Kyra, Keri, Kayla, Joanna, Kristina, Rachel, Jennifer, Jeanie, Georgia, Simone, Catherine, David, Sam, Steven, Adam….
Sarah….my beloved Sarah…who wrote about me and wrote to me and wrote for me. So many prepositions and so much love…none of which I deserved. She sat, front row-center, in my AP Lang class and then in a beloved John Tyler class. She wrote an incredible essay that was so lovely, I read it out loud to her class. What I didn’t know was that I set her feet on the writer’s path, a path I know well. Sarah earned the English Student of the Year by merely breathing out words and literature. She listened to me vent a couple of times when I should have kept my mouth shut. She is Love with blond hair and brilliant blue eyes. She is my hope for the future, my joy in the present. She is the reason I went into teaching. Over twenty-five years ago, I was huddled on Mrs. Harding’s window sill, learning about how to write poetry and feeling like I had a place where I fit. Sarah is the product of Mrs. Harding’s love. Sarah is the next step in Mrs. Harding’s legacy.
I guess, in the end, this is a love-letter to Mrs. Harding…and to all those who have nourished me. I know that I forgot a lot of events and a lot of names. Don’t worry….I still plan on blogging for a long time. I love writing too much to stop and the encouragement I receive from so many people is enough inspiration to keep these fingers dancing on the keyboard.
Thank you Mrs. Fox. Thank you Mrs. Williams Thank you Dad….
Thank you Mrs. Harding…