11 May 2008

Because of skunk mittens, spelling tests and guitar chords

My mother likes to tell the story that she knew she was supposed to be a teacher when she gave a spelling test for the first time. Somehow, she knew that she was meant to teach, which she did for many years. While I had no similar portent of my destiny, I have to believe that I became a teacher, in large part, because of my mother.

She also has helped determine who I am in other ways:

Because I stood beside her in our kitchen in Rochester watching her make a pie crust, using the backside of a fork to crimp the edges, I know how to bake.

Because she knit me hats and scarves and especially skunk mittens, and even more importantly, patiently showed me how to do it, I knit and have been able to teach this to my own daughter.

Because she carefully and kindly corrected my writing assignments, I am a confident writer.

Because she wanted to ski, I learned how to ski and skate and love the cold winter months.

Because she was a beautiful and strong swimmer, I learned how to swim. And because of how she taught me to swim, I learned how to teach others.

Because she taught me that being a lifeguard was an important job, I took the job seriously.

Because she was a voracious reader, I love books.

Because she taught herself how to play guitar, I play guitar. When I haltingly switch from C to G, and the song briefly hiccups, I hear her switching chords and hesitantly, quietly, singing at the dining room table.

Because she loved music and always wanted to play the piano, I learned how to play piano and cello and bassoon and drums and guitar.

Because she loved horses, she let me learn how to ride and eventually have a horse of my own.

Because she thought Caroga Lake was the most wonderful place in the world, the camp there remains my favorite place as well.

Because she let me up-end furniture and drape blankets over it, I learned to imagine other worlds.

Because she let me make peanut butter, onion and Worcestershire sauce sandwiches, I feel free to experiment with flavors when I cook.

Because she made me pancakes for supper on Fridays, I love breakfast anytime.

Because she let me use scotch tape on the windows, I know that any mess can be cleaned up afterward.

Because she didn't make me wear a white dress and veil for my first communion, I learned that we don't always have to do things the way everyone else does.

Because she always saw the best in her students, I try hard to do the same.

Because she is a strong woman, I know that I have strength when I need it.


In these ways, this incomplete list, I understand who I am and how and why I came to be.

1 comment:

mar said...

She read this with tears in her eyes and oohs and aahs (sic). It was great. We love you. dad