You know those friends you adore to the moon and back but truth be told, Life?
Those friends you love and miss but they live far away, so beyond the occasional Facebook status and a Christmas card every December, the reality is that you don’t see or even talk to them much?
But even still, somehow you count them among your dearest friends. Because they are kindred. And while Love often requires maintenance…sometimes…well, sometimes it just doesn’t. Sometimes Friend Love of the most lovely kind picks up right where it left off. Even if it’s been 10 years.
And so it goes with Darci.
A friend from my college days (let’s not talk about that too much, m’kay?) who now lives in an altogether too far part of this great sunny state.
A friend who is now a teacher, and for that alone deserves an award, a trip to Hawaii, and a box filled with hundred dollar bills. Because seriously. Teachers.
As if teaching a gaggle of squirelly first graders their letters and sounds wasn’t enough, sweet Darci is teaching them lessons far more precious.
That of Love and Compassion and That We Are In This Together.
Because last week, with no notice, I found this fantastically happy bubble envelope in my mailbox.
Addressed to the girl, I thought I would let her open it. And I had a hunch it would be good to capture this on (my phone) camera.
She might be non-verbal, but you know exactly.
Inside were simple slips of paper.
That made the mama Ugly Cry.
For real, UGLY cry.
First, the note. (Smooshed by the Porkchop. Lo siento.)
In that perfect penmanship I remember coveting in college.
Always because cake.
But the real treasure was the rest of the contents.
Cut askew with jagged edges.
Rainbows painted by little hands.
And on the backs, notes and drawings.
To. MY. GIRL.
Expressions of encouragement from her last hospital stay.
Labors of love from sweet friends hundreds of miles away.
With half the letters facing the wrong way, words spelled in the best way possible, and some even bearing the best drawings of her favorite mermaid in all the land.
Because Jilly, “you look prity and you are strog.”
Yes, sweet girl. Yes, you are.
I may or may not have bawled my eyes out at proclamations of Love.
The sweetest, most innocent, purest of Love.
And this one.
There’s Yasmin. And Natalie. With Jilly. Right there in the middle. They don’t know her. They’ve never met her. But there she is. Right in the middle. Just like them. Their friend.
Do you know…do you have any clue…how much this means to a mama who worries how peers will treat her some day? How the world will view her? How society will behave when I’m not around to be the mama bear? When she’s not a petite four year old in the cutest walker you ever did see?
I worry for my girl some days.
But if we all do our part. From our own corners of the state. Our own slivers of the country. With the influence we have been entrusted with. Whether that is a class full of first graders…your own children…or your nieces and nephews…maybe I won’t have to worry so much.
Teach them Love, my friends. Every cotton pickin’ chance you get. Teach them Compassion. Teach them to care more about Kindness than coolness. Read and share and encourage them in these things. Truly I beg of you.
And sweet Darci,
You are a treasure. Thank you for being you. Thank you for teaching kindness and compassion. Thank you for molding hearts into beautiful things while you also teach about phonics and not to pick noses. You are doing Good Things, my friend. And this mama cannot convey how much that means.
Love you forever and ever. Even if this stupid state is way too big.