How quickly they grow. I find myself wishing I could capture entire moments and revisit them later. I wish I could remember more about Brooklyn's baby days. Why do they feel so far away?
I recently chatted on facebook with my high school English teacher. She was a petite little thing, with a big bright smile, a blonde bob, and red lipstick. She wore tapered jeans and finely pressed shirts, and a gigantic diamond on her left hand. There wasn't a kid who didn't like her. She just had this way with us. She knew how to keep those rowdy boys in line, and she made english fun. She gave out a coveted Chivalry award each year, the class voted. I liked that she found a way to make chivalry cool. I actually don't remember much about English. But I remembered three things very well, and tonight I shared them with her.
1. She always smiled. Every day. She made it seem possible that one can be in a good mood each and every day. I remember appreciating her cheerful demeanor, and reminding myself that if I became a teacher, I wanted to be like that. With her, I realized how powerful smiling is.
2. How to give a proper handshake. She taught the whole class the proper way to give a handshake. The way to hold your hand, the firmness of grip, the eye contact, the actual shake, all those details. She said it was an important thing to know, that it would serve us well. She wanted us to be confident. She believed a good interview started with a good handshake. Tonight I told her that I have received so many wimpy handshakes from women, and I just want to teach them right then and there! When you shake someone's hand, you are presenting them with all that you are, be confident for crying out loud!
3. She didn't know how to pump gas. Her husband always filled up her car for her every week. This might have been the most important lesson. I remember being baffled by a grown woman who didn't know how to pump gas, and never had to. Moreover, I was baffled by the idea that a husband would do that. The idea of a man going out of his way and taking care of things for his wife, that was like nothing I had ever seen before. I remember, as the boys were poking fun at her gas pump ignorance, I was quietly telling myself I wanted someone who would do that for me. Even now, I stand hard and true by the idea that any man who wants to marry me must always take care of the cars. I know full well how to change a tire, and the oil. I just don't want to. Inevitably, I have had to take care of car stuff myself. I don't mind pumping my own gas. I would even change my own tire if I needed to. But I know for a fact there are men out there who take good care of their wives cars, and I want one like that. More importantly, there are men out there who take good care of their wives, and that is what I really want.
Our conversation was somewhat coincidental. Her father-in-law had just passed away this evening, in her home. She couldn't sleep. We had a good visit and I could tell I blessed her heart with sharing the lessons she taught me. Her quiet example raised the bar a little higher- for how I present myself, how I encounter and meet people, and the kind of man I choose for my life. She has blessed me too. It's funny what we learn from our teachers.
When we were through talking, I remembered that she never had any children of her own. I felt sad for a moment. Then I realized she has had hundreds of kids. While she may have never had any herself, she has helped raise hundreds. She has poured her love out all over the kids that walk through her classroom door. She taught important lessons when she probably didn't know she was teaching.
With that, I feel a bit better about letting my baby girl out into this world. I feel a bit more optimistic about entrusting her to teachers for the next 13 years. But you better believe that I am going to hang on tight to the memory of the first time I held her in my arms. She will always be my baby.