I Wanted to Be Teacher’s Pet

This morning I ran into Scarlet’s first grade teacher walking her students into school, and I realized with shock that she will pretty soon be “two teachers ago” for Scarlet. It breaks my heart! Add in Des’ preschool graduation, and I can’t..do it.

Stop trying to make me do it, life!

teacher's pet

  • In kindergarten, my mom made my reading teacher cry. Oh, maybe I shouldn’t tell this story, lest you think my mom is a bully. She’s not. My reading teacher was also not a bully. I DO remember her having very cranky eyes. (seriously, I wrote that in my diary) During a phone conference and unaware of a too-recent tragedy in my life, my teacher told my mom that I looked sad all of the time, looked out the window, and didn’t do my work. My mom snapped back, “Well gee, maybe it’s because she just watched her father fall down and die.” I think, but I don’t know, that my reading teacher’s cranky eyes turned sad. I know she gave me what I needed after that and that soon, I read better than most of my class.

teacher's pet

  • In 1st grade, my teacher was 102-years-old. No, really. (maybe 70?) She kept a little parakeet named LGB. (Little Green Bird). One day the sixth grade teacher’s class pet tarantula escaped and bit into some wires in the gym. (I can’t make this stuff up) It caused some sort of fire or smoke or gas problem and we were all evacuated and sent home for about seven years while they rebuilt the school. Actually I fact-checked with my mom and it was only about a weekend or so. When we came back, my childhood best friend and I both noticed that LGB had different feathers. All I know is that my teacher gave us a look that could probably still make me jump, and told us to never, ever tell anyone else what we saw.

LGB was the true teacher’s pet, because it wasn’t me! I once called her “Daddy” by accident.

I used to want to be the teacher's pet! This time of year has work, activities, and school overload. Take time to enjoy the time that's left now! #parenting

  • Second grade. I used to think my 2nd grade teacher was so old and really, she was under 30. She was probably around 25 or so! A mere baby! Oh, how our perspectives are funny sometimes. She had a chipmunk statue I played with.

teacher's pet

  • In third grade, I was teacher’s pet, for perhaps the first time in life. It was when I first learned, as I keep learning throughout life, is that I’m a fierce, competitive, driven achiever if all conditions are right. If not, well I look sad and stare out the window a lot when I’m supposed to be learning. My teacher used to actually say to other students, “Follow Tammy’s example. Do exactly what she’s doing” about pretty much anything I did. I was a temporary rockstar.

teacher's pet

  • Fourth grade. I had an actual witch as a teacher. She made me cry harder when I was already crying. She drowned our class pet crickets because she didn’t like their chirping. And, she was let go from our school. However, my warrior mother had already had me placed nicest woman on the planet’s class. You can check her credentials against other nice people you know. She was always happy and we played games and since we had a tortuous 1:00 pm lunchtime, she’d always make sure we didn’t go hungry. One day her eyes were red from crying all day. No one else mentioned it. That night I slaved away on a card for her, writing that I noticed she was sad and that it hurt my heart. I added a little box of pink and white M&Ms I had gotten from my dad’s work. I snuck it onto her desk at the end of the next day. She called later that night to thank me and tell me I had a way of expressing myself through writing that touched her heart..

teacher's pet

  • My fifth grade teacher told me if I didn’t become a writer, she’d eat her own arm. She thought that my writing was so sad, so that I didn’t have to be. I filled up dozens of black and white marbled composition books in her class. One day I wrote a story about the man in the moon who smiles at good people and literally moons bad people. I know she talked about it in the teacher’s lounge because other teachers would ask me to read my story. One night recently I told that story to Scarlet before bedtime. We both got the giggles for a long time before sleep finally took over.

I used to want to be the teacher's pet! This time of year has work, activities, and school overload. Take time to enjoy the time that's left now! #parenting

  • In sixth grade, I had many teachers. One was amazing. He was/is(?) seriously gifted. Funny, heartfelt, caring, intuitive. I had a really rough time that year, amid more pretty and more achieving peers. He knew I’d find myself one day and he told me so. One day he had his amazing daughter have lunch with a few of us and she stopped lunch, pointed at me and asked, “Who is that, Daddy? She’s pretty.” I was so unaware that in any reality she could be talking about me that I hunched over my sandwich and didn’t look up. And, I must have looked ungrateful but I honestly couldn’t believe it. I was the epitome of gawky. I took it to new levels. Maybe he told her to say that. I doubt it. She was only six or so.

Either way, I never forgot what that felt like.

teacher's pet

After that, there were always many teachers. Team teaching in middle school. High school and college. I never forgot a teacher or professor. One was a former Chippendales dancer, the rumors stated. He had a rivalry with another of our teachers and they would have us pull pranks on the other. I’m talking tampons in his desk drawer. These are the things you never forget. These teachers of our lives. They see the rawest sides of us, at times, and we see that of them, at times. There is an attachment. To be honest, I’m so bad with change I don’t know how I got through the graduations. I suppose the wonder that is summer vacation kept me happy and distracted for all that I was giving up in cozy and familiar classrooms.

And as you can see above, I was also gaining something new every year.

I used to want to be the teacher's pet! This time of year has work, activities, and school overload. Take time to enjoy the time that's left now! #parenting

So I wrote this little (big?) post here because teachers are magical.

I Do. I Did. I Confess.

Last night I had some free time to myself, so I read over everything I had blogged for our anniversary in the past.

It’s funny how the things I wrote then – while true – are actually much more evocative and realized today. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. They were mere truth seeds – powerful in their makeup and design – but not yet fully or half bloomed through. Now to be fair, full bloom takes forever or never and a day, if it happens at all. But oh – the potential and beauty! It’s thick. It can overrun your garden, and the the soil and the foundation will just expand to fit it all in. I’ve seen this.

I see this.

I do

The truth seeds were grown, with their potential and their capacity, and we hopefully have a lifetime to see them realized.

To realize them into bloom.

anniversary

The things I say today, are some things I’ve said before but I can’t even begin to tell you how true they are today. How messy it all is – like your blooming garden – wet and naked, dry and warm, always changing, always needing change, always finding a way to crack, to bend, to grow, to bloom, to rest, and to do it all again. And again. When they crack, they let the light in.

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There is just so much to say about nine years ago that I can barely write. His Converse. My hair. His hair. The Jedi Knight robe. Moose and wolf light projections on the tent. A horse and carriage? Yes, a horse and carriage. It was that or a golf cart.

Showing Scarlet and Des pictures of the horse and carriage is MUCH more satisfying. “Oooooh,” they breathe when they look at the wedding photos. Look at you!” Look at us indeed. And of course, nine years in the blink of an eye? Well, no. Not when you fill in those lightning quick years with long days of cross country driving and two pregnancies, and tons of “LOST” and “Doctor Who” watching. And this crazy journey of child-rearing. Sometimes, it’s hard. Like the know-it-alls said it would be.

And what we knew it could be.

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Those same people who tell us to hug our children tight because “time goes so fast and you’ll blink and they’ll grow up.” Well, I hug those children nearly 12 hours a day and I couldn’t possibly do it more, short of keeping them up all night. And still time will go so fast and I’ll blink and they’ll be grown. Then I might be sad. And what will I be left with? Well, other than the knowledge that I raised two great kids into two great adults? You. You are left, standing with me. This is what we planned.

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So yes, it can be tough. I think we’re hard on each other a lot, due to stress and dreams too big to fit into a world with sometimes narrowing choices. We always dreamed BIG. We still dream big. And, we will always dream big. And I’m talking big. Maybe not fly away in a Tardis big, but as close as you can get to that. Northern lights and a place where moose and wolves co-exist in relative harmony. More Bruce Hornsby nights. These are all real. And oh, what a gift that is.

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I confess that one of my most vivid thoughts on my wedding day was this: “Oh man. Will my waist stay this way after children?” It’s the little, strange things you remember. The little, petty thoughts that stay in your head. The things that don’t really matter. So it’s ok to say it did/does matter to me, and I’m happy to say that I love my waist today, like I did then.

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I confess I never had a single shred of doubt about the man I was marrying. I mean, you read this, right? No room for doubt. Cold feet in general? Yes. The whole thing was a mind trip for me. The relatives, the flying, the being the center of attention.

Although, the groom was never in doubt.

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I confess that I didn’t enjoy all of the reception much – my stomach and feet hurt greatly. However, the ceremony was one of the single most meaningful, spiritual and enjoyable 45 minutes of my life. I was in an all-around love trance.

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As I mentioned above, I confess that the choices to get up the hill to the ceremony were: on foot in silver shoes, in a golf cart, or in a horse-drawn wagon. I felt a little strange taking the wagon, but I admit it had style. In the carriage with my parents we said, “Is this really happening? Is this real? Pinch me? After all that..this..it’s happening?”

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I confess that our Ketubah was designed from the map in the movie TIME BANDITS. As it should be!

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And, that my mom made the centerpieces and when I saw my childhood favorite, Donald Duck, I broke into tears.

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And, I confess that I don’t really remember what the cake tasted like but LOOK at it! Whenever I looked around after the cake had been served, I smiled to see some of our favorite people eating chocolate moose and chocolate skulking wolves.

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I confess that we took a fun dance class at the Cheryl Burke dance studio in SF and I forgot a few of my steps at the end.

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And that there were a whole lot of us.

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I confess that I almost broke my leg during a strangely punk rock, extended version of Hava Nagila!

love

And that the song I chose for the father/daughter dance was “Drive” by The Cars. Not your typical choice, for sure, but it has always reminded me of him. “Butterfly Kisses” gives me hives, anyway.

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I confess that this photo was taken during the Time Warp. Obviously.

Rocky Horror Picture Show

And that maroon is the single best color in the world.

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I confess that we lit up a Vermont night. And late at night, we had projected images of a moose and wolf on the tent.

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I confess that there’s always a higher. I once thought love faded or turned into eventual annoyance and complacency. And I know that can and does happen, and I know I’m “only” nine years in. However, I do know there’s an alternative.

And we’re lucky.

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Does toddler Cassidy remind you of anyone?

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Happy 9th Anniversary, Love.