#SOL18 Day Eleven
“Hey guys! How have you been? It’s been awhile!” She said, with the coffee pot in her hand.
Awhile…as in over 20 years, I’m thinking.
Twenty years ago we used to meet here every morning around 6:30 on our way to work. It had to be because otherwise, we might go days and days without seeing each other.
Because things were different.
We no longer carpooled to the same school anymore.
We no longer scheduled our 10:00 a.m. sesh with her students so they could share how they had been kind to one another that week. We knew that kindness was there but it needed to be uncovered. Our kids were in a cocoon in her classroom- once they left us they went back into a cruel, dangerous world. We knew that the best way to show them we cared was by being there at their baseball games and knocking on their doors to reassure their parents that they were showing up at school as the responsible and hard-working people they raised them to be.
We no longer met up for lunch to update each other on the rest of the morning’s events where we served up much-needed laughs. Dessert was punctuated with a dose of “go get ’em” and “show ’em how it’s done” for the afternoon to come. Sometimes it felt like the two of us against everyone else in that building. Our kids always came first.
We no longer had our endless after-school conversations lasting sometimes for hours, often in our principal’s office, our friend and mentor. Unbeknownst to us, this threesome would carry through the next 30 years, and beyond, spanning two additional school districts. The projects that would bring us together in our lifetime couldn’t have been imagined in that tiny office all those years ago.
We no longer had our “happy hour” at Giovanni’s or Chile’s (some days…both) after school. This place where we would unwind after stressful, yet very happy days in my first school district. Days where I was filled in on the ways of parents and how they would do anything for their children, including yelling and screaming at school personnel, if it meant getting their point across. Days where I sat with other staff members and determined, from their language and behavior, who I identified with and who I did not. It was in those days that my philosophy and beliefs were developed. Lead with your heart, not your head. They say that happens in college. “They” are wrong. It happens at happy hour.
I wasn’t sure how I would get through this. All consumed with the things that we would no longer have. With how different things would be. What I didn’t know at that time, as I was quite young and unaccustomed to a relationship this strong, that the bond we forged would never be broken.
It would only grow stronger.