Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I teach at an elementary school - we are a year 'round school, that's why I was at work on July 31st. We had a celebration in our courtyard this morning... a gathering to celebrate the life of 7 year old boy who died this winter due to complications with the flu. He was a classmate of Via's and a student of mine. I can't describe the feelings I had sitting in the school courtyard with all 350 kids, staff and faculty... It was absolutely silent (unheard of with this group of kids!) Several staff members spoke about this little boy and his fingerprints left on our lives. A presentation was made in his honor - a tree that will be planted and a "memory bench" will be added to our courtyard. His whole family was there. Hands were held. Tears were shed. Quiet prayers were said.
And as I looked at those children, I remembered that each and every one of those children is special to someone. Each of those children would leave a hole in the lives of the people around them if they were to suddenly become ill and die. It would take so little... it happens so fast.... I thought about how that little boy over there had pushed my buttons and made me crazy when I was trying to teach his class about characters and actors. I looked at that little girl over there and remembered that she had been dishonest about a book that had gone missing, and someone else tattled and someone else hit someone... And I saw clearly again how important each of these little (and not so little) people are to me. I am awed by my wonderful responsibility as a teacher. A responsibility that I sometimes narrow down to a paycheck.
And I looked at my daughter sitting near me in the summer heat, and I thought about how much I love her. How I love her crazy stories and her temper tantrums and her stubborn streak that will be wonderful as an adult but that drives her parents nutty... It has been too fast. And I have forget to watch it all happen. I have taken it all for granted. I have narrowed my role as a parent down to bed times and bath times and deadlines and laundry.
If someone in my life were to be taken away, would I remember what they smelled like? the sound of their laughter? It makes me think of the scene in "Our Town" when Emily has been buried and she is given the opportunity to repeat a day in her life, and the other people in the cemetery urge her to choose a normal day... She chooses a birthday from her childhood. In the scene that I am remembering, she realizes that no one really looks at each other... no one really sees what there is to see while there is still time to look.
Can I broaden my vision to include the things that are really important and close my eyes to the things that really don't matter...