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a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

PART OF ME


SLICE OF LIFE is hosted by Two Writing Teachers


I stood in the vestibule waiting with the afternoon kindergarten students who were waiting to board the bus.  She walked through with her mother, the preschool teacher.  As they breezed past, I couldn’t help but get caught in a snippet of their conversation.

“Do I really have to go with you?” she whined in her tiny second grade voice.

“Ashley, you know what my answer is going to be,” her mother asserted.

“But can’t I just stay home with the boys?” she pleaded in desperation.

“The boys are not old enough to watch you.  It will be late at night.  You are all going to have to come with like usual.”

I smiled, enjoying the cuteness of her whining even if it was an ordinary irritant for her mother. 

I caught her mother’s eye over her head.  She saw me smiling and looked at me like I was crazy.  “You wouldn’t happen to be interested in babysitting would you?” she asked me.

I was a senior in high school doing an internship in a local elementary school’s kindergarten classroom. “I would love to!” I answered.

“You wouldn’t happen to be free this evening, would you?”  Her voice sounded as if she expected to be disappointed by my response.

“Actually, I am.  What time?”


That moment, that snippet of overheard conversation in the vestibule was the beginning of a life-changing relationship.  I babysat Ashley and her brothers regularly for the rest of my senior year.  After graduation, I even decided to forgo staying in a dorm two hours away from home in favor of remaining close to Ashley and her family.  I stayed home and commuted to classes at the Chicago campus of my college.   

Ashley is no longer that whiny 2nd grader I met so many years ago.  She is a nurse.  With a boyfriend.  And an apartment.  Although she is no longer that 2nd grader who drew me pictures and counted on me, I know that younger Ashley is still a part of her, the way she will always be part of me. 

11 comments:

  1. What a great little snippet of your life. Here I was thinking that you were talking about a student today! I love that you are still connected to her....

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  2. Like Deb, I thought at first you were talking about the present time. Fascinating how seemingly a small moment can enrich lives. What if you hadn't said yes.

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  3. There is something about the bond with kids you spend a good chunk of time babysitting. Perhaps it has to do with growing up 'together' in a sense. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. By reading this I am reminded of my daughter who is a nanny after her job of teaching all day. She, like you, could not say "no" and has been with this family for years. She says the same thing...they are part of her life. These families are lucky to have had you girls for positive guidance. I'm sure the families know this!

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  5. Ooh, what a neat beginning to a relationship! (and to your post -- the dialogue made it seem like it was happening right now, which makes it easy to see what a clear moment it is in your memory!) She is lucky to have someone like you to look up to!

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  6. Nice story to hear, Christy. You had me fooled too, because I thought it was about a student & you were overhearing. Instead, it was a nice memory. Thanks for telling!

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  7. Thank you for sharing this story/memory with just enough detail and ambiance to draw me in immediately and feel awed by the vastness of "life-changing event" with such simplicity.

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  8. Engaging, real, and full of emotion. A treasured memory clearly written. Thank you.

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  9. What a beautiful post. I am so glad that you captured this relationship and shared the beginnings of it, as well as fast forwarding to the future to show how it has been an enduring relationship. It sounds like you are mutually lucky to have each other in your lives!

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  10. And out of that chance encounter a wonderful relationship was born. This post is such a great reminder of how important it is for us to be in the moment" and pen to possibilities - thanks for sharing, Christy!

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  11. How quickly these little ones grow up, Christy. Sounds like you and Ashley really have a special bond.

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