get derailed every single time. I steel myself to clean up and clear
my closet whenever I venture beyond the door frame. The boxes are now
waist high in the corner, musty files and shoe boxes full of past
momentos are begging freedom from the shelf above. As I push my way
the hanging scarecrows, inching closer to the corner, allowing a ray of
light to focus on these sacred containers, the memories start popping
into my vision. "I don't have time, right now," I tell myself, even as
remorse settles uneasily on my shoulders. But I can only edit the time.
My feelings untethered, running unbridled and away. "Now," they
My hand hovers over
boxes, waiting for a sign, like playing the ouija board. A tingling
stops me by the cardboard folder in the absolute corner, edges frayed
papers yellowed. My teacher's memories. Now that seems so many
I sink to the floor
and open the folder reverently, gazing only briefly on the resumes,
still attached, interview notes and letters of acceptance. I scan the
evaluations, the photocopies of year end reviews, certificates and an
file I started when the possibilities seemed endless and the time so
But the most cherished, most heartfelt, are here at the back. The
notes from students past. I cannot believe still, the accolades are
When they itemize things like "for the personal attention" and
energy" or "commitment to excellence," I still feel a fraud, just
done what seemed necessary for each at the time. I can still see their
faces, hear their voices and laughter as they staggered towards
throughout the terms. Their frustrations become my challenges, their
euphoria I take as my own when, finally, the right chord has been
These crystallized moments seem the most important. Not the paycheck or
the workload or the extended summer break. The joy that permeates the
classroom, the enthusiasm contagious and rewarding in itself. A few
photos freeze another ghost class in view. All future stars shining
filled with promise and expectations. Ahh... the lives I have
The next generation of experts, the haunting failures.
My eyes look up,
another related envelope. My concentration abruptly shatters as my
year old stumbles over daddy's shoes and falls into my arms. A fierce
hug grips my neck, his cheek sticking to mine, and his sing song voice
asking quietly, "Why you crying, mom?" I can only hug back and rock a
rhythm while the memories recede far enough to release their spell.
"I love you, my Ian."
When he is ready to
let go, sensing
no tickles this time, I can close the book and replace it, once more.
year's worth of mental spring cleaning done. As he leads me by the
not quite trusting me alone just yet, I think, yes, this family does
the same enthusiasm, the energy and creativity that I once reserved for
My students are still
me, though the layers of years and of dust grow ever deeper. Thank you,
to all, once again.