Friday, April 3, 2015
Beginnings and Ends and Murky Emotions. . . and Hugs
A post in which I bury the lead. You'll see what I mean.
Eventually, much of this, I hope, will fade, and I'll remember instead the students who wrote me lovely thank-you notes, who emailed long after class ended to tell me what they enjoyed in our work together. One young woman, especially, who I crossed paths with on campus. Her journey to university had been a tough one, years of foster care followed by years of living on the street, but she'd got herself into my classroom and she was willing to work hard. She'd never completed an entire novel -- never actually read any whole book -- before that 1st-year English class, and she wrote me a note later that told me how much it meant to her. She claimed that I helped her develop "reading stamina," and I guess I'd count that as valuable as any other lesson I might have hoped to impart over the years.
She's taken to dropping by my office, once or twice a term, just to let me know how her classes are going, now that she's approaching the latter half of her degree. I hadn't seen her for a few weeks though, when we crossed paths the other day, and I was hurrying to another building, mentally rehearsing how I'd begin my next class, so I didn't have time to chat. And she was caught up in a conversation, speaking into her cellphone as she headed to the parking lot. Her trajectory was uphill, mine was down; the slope is enough here that my pace always picks up and I have to watch my step when I cut across the grassy edge of the hill. So I was nod-smile-waving a bit distractedly, almost past her, when I heard her say into the phone, "Just a minute. There's someone here that I have to hug."
And so we did. And she has no idea how long that hug will last. . .
Off today, me and my mixed emotions, to catch up with family in Vancouver. All five of our grandchildren will be assembled there. I think they might bring their parents as well. My sister is hosting an Easter Brunch and Egg Hunt in her beautiful heritage home whose kitchen they have just renovated -- I think she's a bit shocked that 47 people (all family: my siblings and their partners, kids, kids' partners, and grandkids) have promised to be there. It may be the last time we're all together before one of my daughters moves to Rome with her partner and our dear little granddaughter. Which, yes, may also explain some of the emotional tempest of late. More on this later. I have a ferry to catch.