Timing is everything.
I believed this when it broke my heart, when it brought me joy, when it made me laugh and when it brought me to my knees.
Tonight when I rode my bike to the market, it grabbed me by my heart and lifted me to the moon.
Let me first share some important background information. Remember two years ago when I was recruited into the Top Secret Teacher Relocation Program? (That particular event also brought me to my knees.)
When I left that school I said goodbye to an amazing group of kindergarten children. My heart was broken to think that I wouldn’t see them in the halls each day, and that I wouldn’t be able to watch them grow into young people. Sure I was still going to be in the same town, but at the opposite end where every aspect of my life would be different. I wouldn’t be frequenting the same shops, stores, pools or parks.
I was especially sad to say goodbye to Suzy. Do you remember her? She was a challenge, a whole LOT of work, but by the end of the year I loved her deeply and genuinely. In fact, I have her picture tacked up on my board in my new classroom (along with a few others) to remind me about the joy and laughter she brought into our classroom (and my heart) every day.
We’ve kept in touch through several special teacher friends I have from my old school. She asks one of my best friends, the music teacher, about me each week and my friend always passes a smile and a hug her way.
Last week I ran into her current second grade teacher, Ms. Perky. (Remember HER? Love, love love….) Ms Perky shared Suzy’s timeline from the beginning of the year, and one of her important events was “This was the first time I met Mrs. Smythe!” We laughed and laughed, reminiscing about that particular kindergarten class.
Today was a particularly busy day. I worked until 3:00, sped across town to a special science seminar from 3:30 – 5:30, stopped at the Pharmacy, picked up Golden Boy from football and delivered him to his father’s house, dropped of my column and some pictures at the newspaper’s offices and then walked into my house at 7:30. I gobbled down some Mac and Cheese as if I hadn’t eaten in years, and remembered a few things I needed at the market.
I’ve been frequenting a small market down the street from me, and thought I should ride my bike. Honestly, it was only ten blocks down the road, and I needed some sort of exercise.
I grabbed my new bike lock, and headed outside. I decided I was too exhausted to bike and went back into the house for my car keys. I grabbed them and walked BACK out to the carport. I looked at my bike, turned back inside and placed the key back on the counter, grabbed my bike lock again and hopped on the bike before I changed my mind.
I rode my bike to the market. (Which is pretty damn hard in the dark when the sidewalks aren’t all lit. Apparently I do live dangerously.)
I made it to the market and locked my bike up alongside ten other bikes. I glanced up and noticed a young boy walking across the street with his mother- away from the market. I shouted his name three times, and they didn’t hear me. I hesitated and shouted one more time and they turned. We walked towards each other and exchanged a few pleasantries.
I walked back towards the market reminding myself to tell his teacher in the morning that I saw him. I glanced up when I reached the entrance and there she was.
She was walking hand in hand with her father and sister and our eyes met as we BOTH stood at the entrance.
She screamed and jumped into my arms. “MRS. SMYTHE! It’s you!!! Mrs. Smythe!”
I hugged her tightly, and then put her down, laughing and laughing. She held onto my hands and I joined her in a jumping up and down dance. (We were quite a sight, I’m sure.) Her sister and father were smiling and shaking their heads, watching us make spectacles of ourselves. We talked quickly, exchanging all kinds of fun stories and Suzy kept reaching for hugs.
Finally, after recovering from the lovely surprise, I wished them all well and sent them on their way.
I walked away and thought of all the things I had done this afternoon and evening that helped me make it to the entrance of this particular market at this particular moment to see this particular child.
Timing really is everything.