Thank you to
- Andrew for making me think
- Gina for believing in the best of me
- Ralph for being a source of constant inspiration
- Mom for telling me to find a career I loved
- Dad for reminding me that the hard work will pay off
- My family for making me feel special and deserving
- My teachers for modeling the educator I aspire to be
- My students for providing the evidence to justify my optimism
Today was a celebration of each of you for helping me create the life I want through the work I love. I am privileged to have these choices and so grateful to have been led to make the right ones.
Thank you, everyone.
I was running along the Berkeley-Emeryville marina and spotted these two. She was hopping around him, cheering him on - just trying to get a workout into her day. Instead of the gym, she opted for a jog outside with her son.
It felt like I was watching a memory get made, and so I turned around and snapped a picture with my phone. These are the moments in life that we cherish but never capture. Instead, our albums are filled with pictures of people smiling at cameras.
I decided to stop her and, despite the creepiness of my act, told her what I had done and why and showed her the picture. I wanted her to have it. We exchanged emails and they jogged away.
For the rest of my run, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I had done. Where had the idea come from? Why even think to tell them? It didn’t take long to connect the dots.
It was my mom - she was the one that did this to me. She was the one that instilled in me a sense of joy and sentiment. She was the one that talked to strangers at the store and joked with tourists in the city. She showed me how to think with feelings and connect with people.
I hope that mom prints my picture and keeps it on her fridge. Or at her office. Or in her son’s room. Maybe she’ll tuck it away in a book and come upon it a few years from now, when her son is older and drives. When she can’t run because she’s older, too.
And maybe the memory will come flooding back and she’ll find him and take him by the hand and go on a walk to the park.
She’ll want to have thanked me for taking that picture, but I’m not the one that thought to do it.
It’s been a long time coming.
I feel like Obama must have felt when his health care plan finally became law. Decades in the making, where other’s had failed, I was here when it happened.
And if nothing else comes of this year, at least I’ve accomplished this.
This isn’t the way I usually operate, but it feels too big to ignore. I had to just pause and write this in case the magnitude of the moment faded before I could enjoy it.
|Friend:||My computer password is Jeff4America|
|Friend:||It reminds me of the teacher I want to be|
|Me:||That's ridiculous, but the nicest thing I've heard all day|
I was in a fabric store the other week buying some lime-green checkered cotton jersey for my mom and I stumbled upon a dilemma.
The woman helping me at the counter was sweet. Probably 70, she should be retired but she’s the kind of lady that will keep at it ‘til the end. I could tell she loves what she does. When the last customer is gone, and the store is closed, she probably wraps herself in linen and dances in the aisles, caressing the silk with her old hands and rubbing her face against corduroy. But in this moment, she was just standing at the register. With her zipper down.
I wanted to tell her. I really did. Throughout the transaction, in the back of my head, I tried convincing myself to do it. But I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. It felt like the type of news that would ruin her. The interaction was too perfect, too sweet, too short for me to just tell her that I could see through her pants. It seemed like a terrifying thing to say out loud. So I smiled and left the store, totally aware of my failure.
You see, I want to live in a world where people tell each other things like this. I want to walk down the street and hear people compliment strangers, warn them if a restaurant is bad before walking in, or wave down a car when their headlights go out. How can I want this world and not contribute to its making? I was presented with a moment to seize and I froze. I froze because I couldn’t bring myself to potentially embarrass her, even if it was quite obviously the right thing to do.
I’ve thought about this for some time now, and needed to write it down. I know it’s benign and the sort of thing not worth much thought. But I guess I’m worried that when presented with another moment like this, and perhaps a more serious one, I might similarly freeze. I might miss an opportunity to be honest, to help a hapless stranger. I suppose what motivates me more than anything is the idea of the tables being turned. That if I were standing there with my zipper down, someone would tell me.
And instead of being embarrassed, I’d be glad. Glad to know they want the same world as me.