Did I ever see my children
as these faces I see now
My eyes periscope across the ocean of manila brown desks
I’m thinking many thoughts
especially how to remain afloat today
and not sink like a sub
The endless falsetto voices lost in the banter of youth
are not affected by the tepid grey tile and dull institutional cinder block
as am I
On these first days
when teachers gaze across that sea of bright, clear eyes
do they see my children
as I see them
Not evaluating as an instructor
but visualizing with the hopeful heart of a parent
painted oh, so long ago
In my six years as a substitute teacher for all grade levels, just about every teacher I’ve had the honor of working with goes above and beyond what is expected, in an ever changing educational environment. Teachers are a compassionate group. Many educators’ patience is wider than an ocean of manila brown desks.
you’ve gone about halfway
righteous peppers your tongue
your decades of experience
shower unadulterated minds
your determined suggestions
penetrate virginal ears
then the moon flips
your waxing tongue is stifled
nature in her amusing way
has pushed you out
and laughs at your wrinkled brow
she flawlessly accepts
what you won’t admit
children are whirlybirds in the wind
and the only thing you control
is where to sow the little seeds
in your vegetable garden
Photo – delicate daughter (now 17) and big son (now 14) standing in front of mural their mom painted in 2004.
Zebras prisma penciled in 2008
Long ago I promised myself I wouldn’t morph into a stereotypical mother. That mom wants to shove her big son’s, size 14 feet into toddler shoes again. That mom wants to place a puppy-patterned hat on her sixteen-year-old daughter’s head.
Single digit temperatures have forced me and the giant husband indoors. During yesterday’s mall-walk while following orange footprints affixed to tile, a scant tear pooled in the corner of my eye. A beautiful little dress with flowers bursting like a spring garden along its hemline had caught my attention. I imagined the delicate daughter, my Caroline twirling in it. Her toddler cheeks rosy pink and her giggling as pure as the precious white dress.
Then wouldn’t you know my other eye formed a tiny tear as we passed by the toddler shoes. I remembered the big son – my Max – running down our old, wood-lined driveway. Back then, his hair stuck straight up as if in perpetual shock and he loved wearing work boots. The work boots gave him a ‘thumpy’ gait and made his diapered rear end bounce from side to side. This beloved memory is forever velcroed to my heart.
Caroline and Max are no longer small. I’ve had the joy of watching their shoe sizes change. They’ve grown into warm-hearted and gracious teens. Still I pray, when they walk into adulthood they never forget the simple goodness of wearing little shoes.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve become a walking cliché. 🙂
Thank you. May you dream of following the footsteps of happiness.
Max and Caroline painted long ago with acrylic craft paint. I plan on redoing this painting someday. It needs more cool colors. I’m not too happy with it, but it worked for the post. Both photos taken yesterday morning at the Newburgh Mall. Sorry – I don’t know who designed the dress or the workboots.