• Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 523 other followers

  • “Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers” — Isaac Asimov

  • Recent Posts

  • Pages

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 157,359 hits

I’m Sorry If That’s Not Your First Name

Today started out as pretty much an average day.

I got up, put in some miles, and went in to work.

It was testing day for our 9th graders, so we were on a delayed start.  Students who were not testing weren’t due until 1:05.  We rotated through four 25-minute class periods before calling it a day.

I stopped at Best Buy on the way home and then ran by the nail salon for a bit of pampering . . .

I called my friend, Christina, to wish her a happy birthday.  In the middle of our conversation, I walked to the mailbox.

That’s when my day became anything but average.

Waiting for me was a letter with a return address of Parris Island.

All of a sudden, my heart was in my throat, and I could hardly think straight.

Instantly, I was taken back to the spring of 2016 when such letters regularly populated my mailbox — all from my Rooster boy.

Christina had to get off the phone to get ready for her birthday dinner, so I wished her well, hung up, and headed straight for my letter opener (mustn’t mess up the nails).

Inside, I found a two-page, handwritten letter from a young man I’d taught three years ago.

He was writing from Marine boot camp – a dream he’d cultivated for years.

He held a special place in my heart – his whole class did, small as it was.  This class had watched as I’d become an empty nester and had sent off my own boy to Air Force basic training.

In fact, my student, who had asked me to call him Fluffy, had drawn a picture of Rooster’s dog, which I sent him while he was still in BMT.

I had given Fluffy my address after he graduated and told him that if he would send me a letter, I would write him back.  I knew the importance of supporting the young men and women in training to serve our country.

He kept his word; today’s letter was proof of that.

If you’ve never held a letter from a loved one who serves, you might not understand the range of emotions a person goes through.

It’s a combination of joy and pride as memories of that person flood your mind.

The opening words made me laugh.  Fluffy was himself, as always.

For the record, he did remember my first name and did include it on the envelope.

My mama heart hurt as I read that he’d been pretty sick.  Poor kiddo.  I’m praying that my own letter will find him well.

His second page is what brought the rush of tears.

Just look at how much he’s grown already – the sage advice he’s offering to my current charges.

My face as I finished . . . well, it was a good thing that the Mr. and I had not made any dinner plans.

You know, just this morning, another teacher and I were lamenting the woes of teaching – the ridiculous mandates – the horrid VAM system, by which we are judged as worthy and capable teachers.

This letter, from the first word to the end, made me snap my head back where it belonged.

I chose this profession to help kids recognize their potential.

God has been so gracious to allow me to see the fruit of my labor, one child at a time.

Although Fluffy may not remember my first name, I’ll always remember his.

It’s imprinted on my heart forever.

%d bloggers like this: