Why is it that tough weeks always bring heartfelt lessons? Atleast that seems to be the way it works for me. I got a C+ on an assignment that I thought wasn't quite so bad. I thought that I could get out of my lease, but I can't. I thought that once my car was paid off, I'd have a little more money in my account. I don't. However, I did learn one thing. A big thing. A noteworthy thing.
As I'm sure that most everyone knows I have a tutoring business. I work for a local school district as well as myself, and the experience has been more than I could have ever imagined - in all the right and good ways. Tonight I signed on a new student. He can't read or write and has an ok grasp of the alphabet. He's 42 years old and works with heavy equipment. He said that he doesn't struggle, he said he just doesn't know. He said he's tired of feeling stupid.
We had our first meeting today at the home of he and his wife. I walked in and noted beautiful hardwood floors, homemade furniture that was flawless. I walked in and noted a good vibe... no pretense... no negative influences... no stupidity. I marvelled at what he created with his hands. And then I marvelled at the story he would tell and the innate abilities teachers have in either fucking you up or helping you find a way. He talked about what had happened as a kid and why he quit school. He smoked half a pack of cigarettes in an hour and I could read a mixture of anxiousness and fear and.... relief. He trusted me with a secret that he held very close to him for a lifetime. A lifetime's a pretty long way to carry something frightening.
So next Tuesday we're starting on the alphabet. We're going to work on letter association with pictures - A is for apple - kind of thing. B is for banana. C can have two sounds, one soft, the other hard. We're going to help him learn to write his wife's name. His wife's name. Better yet, we're going to help him write her a letter. A love letter. A letter that says 'thanks for seeing past so much and seeing me' kind of letter. You know, one of the important kinds. It reminds me that perhaps it is time to write my own such letters to those who have seen past so much and saw me.
I got a note from one of my young kids tonight. They told me that they liked me and that I was their friend. They told me that they didn't hate to read "no more". What freedom! All I could think about were the freedoms that were waiting for these people - what great things they would discover and new worlds they soon would visit. What a great and lofty responsibility I have because I hold their trust - their trust in what they want to learn, their trust in helping them to set their fears aside and do it anyway, their trust in that we would get through tough days and tough lessons. I am their friend. I am honoured.
They call me Annie in their household, have called me that for years. When I got up to leave, his wife came and gave me a hug and held on for an extra minute. Yesterday I doubted my choosing of careers based on a really piss-poor standard: a mark on a paper. Today I had a woman and her husband hug me, shake my hand, look me in the eye and say "Annie, I just knew you were the one."
I don't always do the smartest thing or make the best choice, but what a moment when you put the rubber to the road and know that your heart is pointed in the same and right direction as your future.
And just so you know that I'm not completely all there, I wore cream coloured cords to work today. Tonight my mother pointed out that you could, in the proper light, read "crazy love" across the cheeks of my ass, under said pants.
It is never too late to be what you might have been.
George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)