During a rather long spell of depressing days I found peace and joy at an unexpected place.
I spent 8 years as a teacher in between my years of accounting. It was, by far, my favorite job. In my second year I was teaching 7th grade math. I was the only math teacher for the whole grade level of 130 students. It was hard to develop connections with them but I tried my best. On the first day I had a new student – a girl who had just moved to the town to live with her aunt. Her mom had recently died of cancer. She was extremely quiet but always kind to everyone around her. That lovely young student is now married (to another former student). They have children and own a local business.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I decided to try a new nail salon in a small town near our farm. I sat down and was so surprised to see this former student of mine preparing to give me a pedicure. (She is doing this part time for a little extra income.) We talked the entire time, catching up on our lives. When she heard about my diagnosis she asked how my kids are doing with it. She shared what it was like for her as her mom dealt with cancer and what it is like for her, today, to still miss her mom in so many ways.
She gave me some of the best advice: Put as much of yourself into your kids while you can.
She was very young so there are life events like marriage and parenting that she never discussed with her mom. She would like to talk to her and ask her questions. My student gave me the same sweet smile I remember from so many years ago and told me she knows she will see her mom again and they will catch up, but she wishes she had more memories of her to get her by until that time.
I think that advice is great for anyone who loves someone else, no matter what your age or state of health. We parents seem to focus on working to get “stuff” for our kids and making the “big” memories. It seems that the small, everyday happenings are where the most long-lasting memories are created. I will be making some changes in my life so that I have plenty of opportunity to put a lot of myself in my kids. I cannot wait!