Monday, June 4, 2012

formal emotions


Friday night was a roller coaster of emotions for me.  I’m an emotional person anyways.  I love to go all sentimental and can cry at the drop of a hat.  It’s gotten worse as I’ve gotten older.  It’s a blessing at times and a curse at others. 

But back to Friday night.  First I was happy.  This weekend my hubby and I stopped by my school’s 8th grade formal to snap some pictures of my adorable students.  I don’t talk about my job too much on here, but for those of you who don’t know – I teach English to middle school kids from other countries. 

Friday night as I waited for my girls to arrive, I watched in awe as cars and limos unloaded 14 year olds preparing themselves for the best night of their life.  The anticipation I felt as I waited to see my students arrive surprised even my husband.  I see them every day.  Why was I so excited to see them Friday night?  Well, for starters one girl checked out at noon to straighten her hair.  But there was more.  The importance that the night held in their minds was inspiring really.  The buildup was immense.  They’ve had their dresses picked out for months.  They got to wear serious makeup and high heels.  It was a fairytale.  It made me think back to my 8th grade formal.  Then I got all nostalgic.  I was so innocent and naive.  For that one night, nothing in the world mattered except that dance.  It was me, my best friends, our dates and some serious bangs.  All I wanted was to feel beautiful.  And for my students on Friday night, it was a similar feeling.  And they were beautiful.  Stunning really. But it was more than that.  They are good girls.  They make good decisions and try to do the best in everything.  Their parents left their families and their countries for “a better life for these kids.”  And trust me their road is never easy.  That’s when I got sad - sad because they walk in a life where the language sounds mumbled sometimes.  Where the odds are against them even.  Where people stereotype their families and call them racist names.  A place where they don’t always get to feel beautiful.  A place where it would be so easy for 14 year old girls just to say “screw it.  I give up.”  But then I got happy again.  Because these girls are different.  They don’t give up.  They are proud.  They aren’t afraid of a challenge.  They support their classmates and love like I’ve never seen.  They are strong. 

So as I drove home that night I couldn’t help but reflect and wonder, “Have I told them how wonderful they are?  Do they know how much I care about them?  Do they know the unlimited possibilities for their future?”  I’d like to say yes to every question and in many ways I do think they know how much I love them.  But I know there is no way I could have taught them half of what they have taught me.  They have shown me that no one else can determine your happiness or success and that no one else is responsible for those things except yourself.  I thank God for allowing them to teach me about hope and about strength.  I am so grateful that I have the honor of seeing these kids every day and by some small chance can inspire them along the way. 

As much as I’d love to share a picture of my beautiful students with ya’ll I’m pretty sure that’s illegal or something…. So instead I’ll leave you with some food for thought.  To all you teachers, educators, youth leaders, counselors and social workers, you matter.  To the mothers and fathers and aunts and uncles you matter.  You matter in a kid’s life and if you’re lucky enough, they matter even more in yours.  As I approach my last week of school it is bittersweet.  I will miss seeing these faces every day next year, but I am excited to see where life takes them.  And I am grateful for the mark they left on my heart.

And a few pictures from the rest of the weekend…

downtown wilmington date night

my loves after date night

cookout with friends.  me and sheena

sunday brunch with family.  my nephew is a firm believer that holding creamers over your eyes makes you invisible.

3 comments:

Sara said...

This is so sweet. I'm so glad your students got to experience a magical night like that! They sound like such wonderful kids. xo

Jessie said...

You did not tell me you had a blog!!! I love it. So good to see you last weekend.

Nicole Marie said...

i love this. we have a lot of impact on our students lives but at the same time i have never learned so much and been so humbled than by my students.

you are amazing and impacting these girls immensly... even just by showing up to take pictures you probably have no idea how much that meant to them in their fairytale night.