7/18/12

I stopped at the grocery store on a whim...which is always how it happens....


I’ve been a classroom teacher for over 24 years, and can remember most of the names of the children I've taught.  (Well, usually.  Kind of.  MOST of the time...)


Over the years I’ve watched many of them grow into incredible young people, and feel lucky that I can keep track of most of them through their parents, and others in the somewhat close-knit community.

But you know, there are always some that truly touch your heart- children that you know are amazing souls.  You can do your best to teach them all that you should, but in the end they are the ones that teach you some incredible things.


His name was Liam.


His mother was from New Zealand, a witty, lovely woman- and his father was an amazing Irishman with a quick wit, a ready smile and a brilliant mind.  He had an older sister that he admired, which was quite a unique for a fifth grader to actually admit.

It was my first year at Smythe and Wesson Elementary and I had an incredibly talented and amazing fifth grade class.  (Which was unusual, because usually the NEW teacher gets all the, um, challenges.  Let’s be honest.) They not only wrote and directed their own PLAY, they also wrote music and turned it into a musical that they performed for the other fifth grade classes and then their parents.  Frankly, I had to just step back and watch.

They were also the ones who (astutely) recognized the fact that yes, I did indeed come to school wearing fashionable pajamas from Victoria’s Secret that I thought was daywear.  (“Mrs. Smythe, are you sure they’re not pajamas?”)

I’ve seen many of them over the years, but never Liam. I have wondered and wondered about him, and ask about him each time I see his lovely mother.  Apparently he met a lovely woman and moved to Paraguay, doing something or other phenomenal – of course I wasn’t surprised.  

But I always remembered the sweet, red-haired young boy who taught me so much about the brilliance and empathy of a ten-year old child, who could not only punish a soccer ball but compose music, as well.


In twenty years, I have not had the opportunity to see him.




Until today.


I was running out of Shmegman’s, our local grocery store, and ran smack into Liam’s mother. I noticed she was with a young man and woman, but hugged her instinctively not thinking.  She smiled, and held me at arms length.  Her eyes looked at me, and then behind me as she smiled as if sharing a secret.

I turned slowly and watched the handsome young man take off his sunglasses.  My eyes filled as I looked at him- and then I wrapped my arms around him in pure joy. 


We laughed, talked a million miles a minute at the same time, and laughed again.  At some point he introduced me to his wife.  


HIS WIFE.


When we ended our incredible reunion, I turned to leave.  But I simply had to say it.  “Liam, you know you were always one of my all-time favorite students…”



He laughed as he said, “And YOU, Mrs. Smythe, were always my favorite teacher.  I just told my wife that the other day.  You were number one.”



I laughed as I walked to my car.










Hey Wall Street- let’s see you give your corporate heads that kind of bonus.  Doesn’t get ANY better than that.





17 comments:

Sharyn said...

I teared up reading this. I don't remember any of my teachers as being particularly special, but I sure do remember many of my children's teachers who changed their lives, and I'm deeply grateful.

Paige said...

awww....and he is not even in jail! Win win! That is where all my mom's former students are--there is probably something to that!

notme said...

Pretty. Damn. Awesome.

ChiTown Girl said...

Thanks for making me cry. Again.

I ran into my kindergarten teacher on the day that my niece was born last year. She actually said she remembered me, and my sister, and said some things that made me believe that was true. It was like a had met a Hollywood movie idol. I instantly became a 5 year old again. SHE is the very reason I decided, while in her class, I was going to be a kindergarten teacher.

Holy crap, that was in 1973!!! Almost 40 freakin' years ago! Great, I just dated myself for all to read. Oh, well, I'm old. What can I say?

The Bipolar Diva said...

That is so totally awesome! I'm glad you got to see him and his wife. Now you know! I found my favorite teacher a few years ago and have been lucky enough to keep in touch. You wonderful people make all the difference in young lives and I'm not sure teachers realize that they have lasting effects on their students.

Julie DeVisser said...

I love this. Brought tears to my eyes -- and just forwarded it to my SIL who is a teacher. You all get the best bonuses ever. (I can attest that those of us Wall Street poeple never get that.) *sad face*

Scope said...

No, those aren't tears running down my cheeks. It's really hot here.

Honest.

I'm not crying one little...

Okay, maybe one.

Vodka Mom said...

I know...and to be honest I was crying after I got into my car. Laughter and tears - they're like peanut butter and jelly.


I am still in shock. He was awesome.

Lorraine said...

When I saw the title of the post I thought.... oh no, she's had one of those experiences like I usually do and run into someone from high school, or that you haven't seen in quite some time and you've not taken a shower, combed your hair, look like crap - KWIM. But then I read on and felt so happy for you. What a great and rewarding feeling to know you've been remembered.... and in such a good way!

WeaselMomma said...

You truly are an amazing woman. I just wish my kids could have had you as a teacher.

Unknown said...

Beautiful, thank you.

Mrs. E said...

So true! This is absolutely one thing they can't put a price on! And all those crappy administrative decisions that are out of our control and the low wages they pay to keep us in our place--it doesn't matter! And they can't tax it either!

SkylersDad said...

Darn you for making me feel good on a rotten day!

Yes, you are #1 and my favorite also!!

Cappy said...

Hope you get to catch up with him some more and find out what all he's up to these days...

Deb said...

You are one amazing woman...Love your blog! You make me FEEL....sometimes I cry, most often I laugh. You have such compassion and display such a great attitude in every situation you encounter. Your ability to add humor to most every situation is something I envy. I so appreciate everything you share! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making my day....every day!

Vodka Mom said...

Damn, Deb. You made me cry.


not that it takes much these days.

Angela said...

I am so very happy that you received such a lovely reminder and gift that let you know how much you matter and the profound impact you have on your very fortunate students. Really wish you were teaching my kids. Bravo!