School has started, and my days, as well as my nights, seem to be consumed
with unfinished business.
On Sunday, I was at my desk at school -- where I have taught for seven
years -- and pulled out a pack of pictures, wondering which year they were
taken. I started to sort through them and couldn't believe the round,
soft baby faces that stared back at me.
Kassidy and Carissa were 3-year-olds. Could this possibly be the
same two 9-year-olds that just recently traded in their Pooh shirts for
Mary Kate and Ashley duds? Who now talked about the boys they like at school.
I sat there with the pictures spread out on my desk, secure in the knowledge
that no mother could have been prouder. How lucky I've been to share
these young lives. How much they have blessed me.
I look at Carissa in braces holding onto her walker -- her cerebral palsey
making every step a challenge. I see Kassidy smiling shyly, always
trying to hide her hands so no one will stare at her scars and her missing
fingertips. She balances awkwardly on her prosthetics as she poses
for the camera. She has no feet because of spinal meningitis
I focus on the genuine smiles on their faces, the sparkle in their eyes,
and hope I am a tiny bit responsible for their happiness.
I tuck the pictures in my purse and make plans to frame them.
The next day, Carissa's mom called and asked if they could stop by.
Carissa needed a place to change into her dance costume. She walked
through the door carrying her little pink case, no walker or braces in
this picture. She told me about the new dance outfit that she just
knew she was going to get for her birthday, which was only a few weeks
away. She laughed and smiled. She hugged me several times and
told me she missed me and we made plans to get together soon. I asked
how Kassidy was, and she gave her report. They still attend the same
school but they have different classes.
She left and I checked the time --- it was after 4 pm, and one of my night
courses would begin soon. I had planned on grabbing a bite to eat
with a co-worker, so we went to the little coffee shop down the street,
where Kassidy's mom was working the night shift. I walked in and
saw Kassidy there, with her mom.
I captured her attention and she ran to me, throwing herself into my arms.
She looked wonderful. She was wearing a little denim dress and her
metal and plastic legs were evident beneath the hem. She dragged
us to a booth and told us she was going to take our orders. We gave
her our drink orders and she rushed off to tell her mom. My back
turned, I followed her
by the thump-clunk sound of her legs as she walked -- oblivious to the
looks from the people in the cafe.
She brought our drinks and wanted to take our orders. She excitedly
explained that she was helping her mom and she had already made a dollar.
Kassidy's mom approached and said, "Miss Cory, I'm so glad to see you.
I need a babysitter."
I agree to watch Kassidy and her baby sister for the next few weeks until
her mom got on the day shift. She is single and she seems to always
be juggling more than her share. Selfishly, I look forward to some
time with Kassidy.
Our food came, and as we ate, Kassidy jumped up from the table every time
someone came in. She waited patiently while they seated themselves
and then quietly approached their table.
her ask, almost apologetically, if she could get them something to drink
and then off she
give her mom the order. I was amazed at her courage.
I listened as her mom directed her to a table to clear and then heard her
cry out, "Look! Two dollars!" She returned to our table where she
pulled the wadded up bills from her pocket. I helped her count them
and straighten them out. I saw her excited face as she told me she
to grow up and be a doctor.
We got ready to leave as she greeted more customers. My co-worker
and I slipped three dollars under the cracker basket, wanting to add to
the excitement of discovery. I hugged her goodbye, and assured her
I'd see her the next day.
Once in the van, I thought about the pictures in my purse. I never
dreamed that six years ago these two little girls would walk into my classroom
and into my life. At times, they would become my purpose and my motivation.
I never doubted then that one day Carissa would dance, and that Kassidy
would blossom! The realization overwhelmed me and I put my face in
my hands and started to cry. I had finally identified what I was
feeling. I almost didn't
Unknown To Me
The Eyes Of Love Midi
Reflections Midi Pages