Last Sunday I felt the warmth of a hug that was given to me by someone very dear to my heart. I have the blessing of going to the same church as my 8th grade Spanish teacher.
Way back then, I knew I wanted to become a teacher someday and I admired her as one. I would love the way her classroom was organized, how she cared for her books, and for her students. But most of all I would admire her the most for loving what she did.
She engaged her students in the novels we HAD to read for her class. You know, during all my years in school in Puerto Rico those became the only novels I did read out of joy, even though it started out as an obligation. I will never forget “Maria” and how she fought against a rare disease; nor will I forget “Marianela” and her quest for love despite her ugliness. The joy of getting to know these characters were all because of her.
After her hug she went on to tell me that she admired me and that I had surpassed her as a teacher. I was speechless for a moment and only went on to hug her again. I hugged her not only because of what she told me, but for what it meant for me.
I traveled back in time, and saw her classroom, her desk sat on the left side of the classroom and our desks were arranged in rows of two facing each other. Her classroom resembled a square.
It was liking seeing two persons one young and one old. Not old in a bad way, but old as in wise and cultivated by her years and experience in life. Her voice has become subtle during the years, but still has traces of how vibrant and strong it used to be.
I know as a fact that today she struggles to overcome many things in her later years, but she does it in an elegant way. She stands tall, even when her shoulders carry the burden of loosing a child to cancer when he was only ten or eleven. It should have been hard to keep her family going when facing such a tragic event in their lives. I’m more than sure she stumbled along the way, but at the end she ended up raising her daughter and son to be two incredible adults and managed to keep her family going.
As her words mingle around my thoughts, I can only hope to one day face life in my older years with the elegance and wit of my dear teacher that has overcome so many things during her own life. Her voice will still be part of my adolescent years when she would ask in her vibrant voice, “What did you like the most of this story?”, because life itself is a story and you are the one who writes it every day.