Monday, February 20, 2012


I saw a familiar face while I was bagging my groceries at the market today. She looked to be close to my age and had two girls with her that looked to be about my boys' ages. We started chatting and thought the connection was that we had both worked out in Yacolt but it turns out we were there at different times. Finally, she asked me what my name was and and it clicked, for one of us anyway.  One of the girls said, "You were my kindergarten teacher." My mind was blank.  I didn't recognize her at ALL!  Embarrassingly, I had to ask her what her name was. "Destinee," she said and as soon as she said it, it all came flooding back to me. She was in my very first kindergarten class. I remember how intelligent Destinee was. I remember that she was one of my most capable students. I remember the day she figured out that between her first, middle, and last names there were 26 letters.  I can still see the twinkle in her eye when she ran up to me with her full name printed out with each letter counted.  The smallest things bring so much happiness to 5 year olds.  I remember that in March of her kindergarten school year, her dad had his long-awaited kidney transplant and I remember that the next year, when her brother was in my class her dad had to go to rehab to fight an addiction to the painkillers that had sustained him for so long.  She was tall and gangly when she was in my class but now she is just stunning. I felt embarrassed that I didn't immediately recognize her and I covered my eyes when I learned that she is now a 7th grader.  Wasn't it just the other day...

As I walked to my car, I felt the embarrassment of not recognizing such an important figure in my life.  I wanted to push my cart back into the store and tell that little girl what a difference she had made in my career, in my life. I had been so afraid to switch grades and begin teaching kindergarten but when I got there and witnessed the amazing growth my little charges could make in one school year all of my doubts were erased.  It was your curious mind, willing heart, and excitement for life and learning that hooked me as a kindergarten teacher.  It was then, in my 12th year of teaching, that I had found my true calling.  That is when I had met Destinee and my life was changed forever.

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