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Monday, October 19, 2015

When a teacher changes your life


Oh time. 

Why are you such a precious commodity that always seems to be about six inches out of reach? The daily to-do's get pushed to another day...and then another. On Friday nights, we dream about you and all the great ways we're going to use you over the next couple of days, and then poof, in a blink and a breath, you are once again slipping away from us. 

Oh time.

That feeling of never having enough seems so much harsher now with a 16-month old and a job and a household. Responsibilities. Bills. Life. 

A few years ago, in an effort to stay on top of things, I bought a decorative wicker basket to keep my stash of to-do's. You know-- bills to pay, 401k statements to look over, pet health care reminders to call on...

And this. A handwritten note from my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Christine Perryman, dated March 9, 2012, a full 25 years after I had been in her class.


Mrs. Perryman had bumped into my mother and they chatted, as they so often did. My mom shared the news that I had recently had a miscarriage, and Mrs. Perryman was deeply saddened by the loss. Not long after their conversation, I received this incredibly thoughtful note, which in part said:

"It seems life can be so always remember to lean on God and don't quit smiling your beautiful smile! I will be praying for you."

I was beyond touched. The fact that a teacher I had had more than two decades prior was still thinking about me was beautiful and exactly what I needed to heal from the loss of my baby.

So I put the note in my wicker basket with the excited intent to thank Mrs. Perryman and tell her how much it meant. But a move from Chicago to New York City, a new job, and later a big bundle of joy named Jack, always seemed to get in the way.

Sadly today, I got the news that I'll never be able to share with Mrs. Perryman just how much that note meant to me. At just 53 years old, she passed away after a long battle with cancer. Her time was taken away much, much too soon.

Mrs. Perryman wasn't just a teacher, she was THE teacher. The best. My favorite. The one that made me get it. The one who turned my C's and D's into A's and the honor roll. She turned me from someone who was totally disinterested in learning to someone who couldn't soak it up quickly enough. In college, when I got a two-year tuition scholarship, my family and I joked that we should send her a check as a thank you. She was patient, and fun, and beautiful, and smart and everything I wanted to be.

Dang you time.

Today, with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart, I say thank you Mrs. Perryman. 

I'm so sorry I didn't say it sooner. 

My mom found my 4th grade report card. Mrs. Perryman shared sweet words back then too.