Thursday, August 4, 2011

Three times seven

My shredder and I survived Phase 1 of the great office clean out and the stage is now set for Phase 2. Hubs and I are ships passing in the night today as he is flying home from a business trip and I am heading south to spend the weekend with daughter2 so I can help her move apartments. I told him that I hoped he could see how much I'd done but honestly so much of it was getting rid of paper that I'm not sure how different the office looks. The closet on the other hand is much improved. You can actually put your whole self in there now, maybe even the whole family.

Besides being overrun by income tax returns do you know what else we're overrun by around here? Photos. Holy moly. I have been scanning and filing photos for the past year but it seems every time I open another drawer, bag or box I find more photos. Some I dated when I had the film developed (remember when you had to have film developed?) but I got lazy about 1999 so I had to wrack my brain to figure out the year on a few of them.

I also found some of the things I'd saved from my girls growing up days. School work, letters home from camp, notes to mom and dad...oh my. I tried to stay focused on the task at hand but I couldn't help but read some of the cards and notes. One thing I kept was something daughter2 wrote during the very first week of third grade-she was seven getting ready to turn 8 in a few days. The teacher had them complete a packet about themselves and it was sitting on their desk when parents arrived for Back to School night. Here is what hers said-

When I'm in sixth grade, I hope-I get a good teacher.
When I'm in high school, I would like to-get four teeth pulled.
When I'm 25 I would like to be-a waitress.
When I grow up I would really like to be-a teacher.
If I could have three wishes for my future, I would wish for-a puppy, a good husband, a little girl.

Dear sweet seven year old daughter2-

You with the bluest eyes and the hair so blonde and the smile so did get a good teacher in grade 6. Two in fact. And they both had babies that year which delighted you. We still lived in Maryland and you moved into the Middle School. You sang in the show choir, took piano lessons from Dr. Haberman, played lacrosse, danced with a new studio and loved finally being old enough to join the youth group at church.

About those teeth...I think if you knew all the orthodontics waiting for you in your future you might not have wished so hard for this one. I'm pretty sure the wish was inspired by the fact that your teacher's daughter had just had her wisdom teeth pulled and this fascinated you. Or maybe it was just all that talk of ice cream but nevertheless, your wish came true and guess what? You had those four teeth pulled by a British surgeon in the UK. He came in to see you beforehand and explained in great gruesome detail precisely how he was going to remove those teeth. They served me tea and biscuits while you were in surgery and once you were out they fed you and took your blood pressure and checked on you at least 87 times before we were permitted to go home. As always, you were a trooper. Did I mention we moved to England four years after you finished the third grade? Your seven year old self had no idea what was waiting round the bend. My 37 year old self didn't either.

Your wish to be a waitress came true too, just much sooner than age 25. It was difficult for teenagers to find part time jobs in the UK but you were bound and determined and lo and behold you landed a job at the nicest little cafe in our village. The owner Deb was from South Africa and she absolutely loved your sunny disposition, your huge smile, and your sense of humor. Daddy and I loved to come for breakfast and have you wait on us. Daddy would order the equivalent of $40 worth of beverages-his freshly squeezed juice, one of their famous lattes, and a strawberry milkshake. You were an excellent waitress and only once or twice dropped something and the fact that you were an American girl was a big hit with the customers too.

Now, about that growing up bit..well, that happened too. And at this very moment you are working hard at uni to make that dream of becoming a teacher a reality. You will student teach some lucky second graders this year and you're beyond excited. I love that you and I share this slice of life and we talk often about education, classroom management, disadvantaged children, and what makes a good teacher. I have no doubt you will be one of the best.

In just a few weeks you will turn three times seven. I imagine you sitting at your desk in Mrs. O'Neill's room as you were beginning the third grade. I picture you thinking hard about the things you loved-puppies, babies, family-and wanting your own some day in the distant future. I pray everyday those gifts are waiting for you to grab hold of as you step into the world of full grown adult. Suddenly that long ago distant future is here. You have always been the girl who grabbed hold of life. You are still that girl.


  1. This is such a sweet post. My boys are growing too fast and I know that soon, we too will be in the middle of "grown up" years. Your reflections or the past and comparisons with their reality is a special look at life.

  2. Awe. So sweet! I wish I had kept more of my girls "writings" from their school days.
    And now that you wrote about scanning all I can think of is "I need to scan those old photos!!"

  3. Finding that paper from school turned out to be a really great post. I loved reading this one. I love going through my childrens papers from their school years, they are all so special.

  4. Okay, thanks for my cry of the day. This was a precious post!

  5. THIS was adorable...what a wonderful FIND!

  6. Oh my word. Sweet sister. What a wonderful thing to have kept all these years.

  7. So sweet. I got goosebumps reading it. It must be the teacher in me :)

  8. What a sweet tribute to your daughter.

  9. Oh, that is just SO sweet! How many tears did you shed reading that, remembering the past 7x2 years? {{hug}}

  10. I knew this was going to be a good post when you said you found old cards, letters, school papers etc.

    Our oldest son always had the most interesting school papers, because he views things a bit differently than most. He's the one who refused to sing "Itsy Bitsy Fuzzy Wuzzy Worms"--and told the teacher the song was gross. He also colored his angel wearing a black dress...the only student in the class who did that!

  11. Loved this. I can so relate...our daughter will be student teaching this fall and we have had so many of the same kinds of conversations as you. I always thought she'd become a teacher! It's really fun to watch God fulfilling her dream with the gifts He's given her. When she was about seven she started propping her dolls up on her bed against the wall "for school." She put a pencil in each of their hands or paws. I eavesdropped all the time on her "class." I could hear her say, "Marilyn,you need to sit up straight. Are you listening to me?" "Carolyn," (Marilyn's twin) "do you know what 3 plus 5 eagles?" (That's how she said "equals" and it was too cute to correct her.) Ah, sweet memories. I bet your daughter held bedroom classes, too.

  12. Such a great post! Our kids grow up so fast and then they are flying on the wings we give them. Sounds like you gave them good wings. Have a fun weekend moving your girl.

  13. Ohmygoodness, Joyce! You have touched my heart this morning with this wonderful post. I've got to go blow my nose now and wipe the tears now. Seriously. So blessed by this today. Thank you. I pray you have a wonderful weekend and that things go smoothly with your daughter's move.

  14. What a wonderful post! I now have tears in my eyes, too.

    I had to giggle a bit at the wish to have teeth pulled! I too have had a lot of orthodontic work. UGH.

  15. What a heart warming post! I know what you mean about papers. It's the hardest job in our home office, keeping the papers under control. We go through a shredder a year. :o)

    Always enjoy stopping by!