Thursday, November 25, 2010

Not Getting To Say Thanks

In my life, there have been three people I have loved unconditionally. Wait. Let me clarify that. There have been three women that I have loved unconditionally. If we include men in the list, I guest my dad and MacGyver would have to be added to the number.

From the moment I was born, my mom loved me unconditionally. I was the first, so I got it all. For three whole years before my brother arrived I had uncontested motherly love, and even after Philip arrived, mom just found a new supply of love for him, and I still got all the attention and affection I could ever want.

Eleven years ago, I met Claire, and I knew she was something extraordinary. When we started dating a year after that, I knew my life had changed. My love for her has never stalled or diminished in the intervening ten years. Instead it continues to grow and grow and I can't imagine a world without her.

But between mom and Claire, there was another.

When I was still just developing my personality, I spent the first early years of formal education in the town nearest my home. I don't remember much about those years. I hazily recall playing A-Team on the slide with my cousin and some friends. I remember colours and shapes. But most of all I remember feelings. I remember a warmth and a love. I remember being safe, and happy. I felt that I was special, even among all these other kids. I wasn't the fastest, or the strongest. I couldn't paint as well as the others boys, or build as high a block tower. But she still told me I was important. She hugged me if I fell, wiped my tears if I cried and celebrated with me in my victories. She gave me the freedom and the confidence to be myself.

That one teacher helped set me on the path to become who I am today. I cannot even physically describe her in any way right now, even though her smile is burnt into my minds eye. She had an amazing smile. She was my first crush. I loved her her. And she loved me.

I grew up wanting to be a teacher from a very young age. I wanted to give back a little of what I was given. I wanted to make people unsure of themselves feel better about who they are. I wanted to make a positive mark on someones life.

Every day I go to work I think of how much I remember how I felt when I was in preschool and the early years of my schooling. I think of my responsibility to the children I interact with and the influence I am having on their young minds. I try to make every moment a positive one that they can tell their parents when they go home. In decades to came I want them to remember their time in school as a favourable chapter in their lives.

The teacher that influenced who I am today, and the career I have chosen, passed away a few years ago. I remember my mom telling me over the phone. I remember crying. But most of all, I remember an enormous pain in my chest, as if someone was squeezing my heart, because I knew I could never tell her what she meant to me.

I could never say "Thanks".

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