Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Little Gem

People are very kind.  I've had a number of people tell me how much they enjoy reading this blog (really?!?).  And I've had threats of physical violence if I don't write more (you know who you are!).  And in so many ways that is quite motivating...

but... (and there is a but!)

What to write?  I'm not clever or insightful or original everyday.  Who are we kidding.  I'm lucky when it happens at all!  Now if I thought you'd all like to read a steady stream of me lamenting whatever area of my life I'm struggling with then I would be set.  I could go on for days, weeks, years! But then, I would be bored.  Because even in my struggles I'm not original.  Round and round I go on the same old merry-go-round of character flaws.  My struggle with my weight, my struggle with selfishness, my struggle with my lack of discipline.  Ugh.  How tedious...

Thankfully being clever or inspired or original doesn't have to start with me.  If I open myself up to the wonder of the world around me I don't have to wait for long until a little gem falls into my lap.  Like yesterday...

Part of my life here in the Junction is that I am a substitute teacher.  And maybe someday I'll write a whole post about how much I LOVE being a substitute teacher but for now just know that it fits me like a glove.  I sub in classes from kindergarten to grade 12 and I think I'm just about the luckiest person.  It cracks me up that I so thoroughly enjoy a job most people would avoid.  And yesterday's little vignette will explain just one of the reasons I think I'm so darn fortunate.

I was in an elementary class yesterday when I noticed one of the little girls starting to orbit me by recess.  Not in an intrusive way - a little star in the night sky, always in the periphery, but always there.  Apparently she doesn't always make it to school, and rarely returns after lunch if she makes it there in the morning.  But there she was after lunch and she made her move, breaking into my atmosphere.

"Mrs. Smnaski (Symanski is a hard word for little kids!)... I love you."

WHAT?  She loves me?  But I didn't do anything but be a little bit kind and a little bit silly!  I had no make-up on, a zit on the side of my face and I probably looked tired too.  Not to mention all these character flaws I have.  But, she loves me!  And not only that, then she looked up at me with these adoring little eyes that convinced me she meant it. She really does.  I remained composed but I felt a little like the Grinch whose heart grew three times when he heard the Whos in Whoville singing.  And then not half an hour later...

"Mrs. Smnaski, do you want to be my BEST friend?"  Can you breathe?  Needless to say Ken is no longer my best friend.  He has been replaced by a six year old.

And of course I'm inspired.  By the generosity of her words.  By her honesty, her warmth.  Her transparency and her need.  And whenever I'm in the school (which is quite a bit), I will try to check in on my new "best friend" because she is this lovely little mite who knows what she wants, what she needs, and isn't too shy too ask for it.  And who can resist that? Not me.


You know all that I need and yet you love to hear me put it into words.  Well, I love you and thank you for being my best friend...

'til next time,



  1. And that new best friend, my dear, is why you are there.
    You are perfect for that place, and that little heart.