Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Stepping into my world.
I was over at Whittaker Woman's blog, reading about her man Los and his visit to his daughter's school to sing them a song. I think its awesome when a parent can share what they love to do with their children and their friends. But what is even more awesome is the impact it will make on the lives of the children.
It took me back to a time when I was a chubby little girl with crooked ponytails and glasses in the third grade. My parents had just divorced the year before, we moved from San Diego to Riverside, to be closer to family. I was just discovering that time with my Dad meant time away from my Mom. When I was with my mom, I would see my cousins sitting on their dad's lap, crying to uncles when they fell off their bike and skinned their knee. And I would feel intensely sad and feel like crying. I would tell my mom I felt tired. Then I had an excuse to find a quiet corner to sit and cry in. And then when I was with my Dad, and he cooked something for dinner that was unfamiliar, or I had no one to comb my hair for me...even a smell could do it...I would ache for my mom. And I would cry some more.
But that year, my third grade year, the teacher went around the room and asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. I thought long and hard about my answer, and it seemed to be I had no other options but one.
"I want to be an artist, like my Dad."
When my teacher found out my father had some artistic skill, somehow they coordinated for him to come to our class and teach....origami, of all things. But the fact that he would drive allllll the way from San Diego to Riverside--and it wasn't on the weekend--and spend the afternoon in my class, well, it made me over the moon.
I remember being so nervous, waiting for him to show up. Maybe a part of me worried he wouldn't make it. Another part of me worried that my classmates would find this whole paper-folding lesson boring. Or that they would laugh at me, one of the only girls in Mrs. Riddick's third grade class who had divorced parents.
When he walked into that classroom, I remember my heart feeling like it was gonna burst through my chest. I was so excited, so happy, so proud that my Dad was standing up in front of my classroom and teaching us all about cutting and folding paper. He was there, he was in my classroom, he was teaching my friends. I do believe my face was wreathed in smiles, from beginning to end.
Seeing that video and reading Carlos' words about the smile on his daughter's face, it took me back to that third grade classroom, with a quickness. I doubt my father was aware of how much it meant to me, for him to visit my class that year. It was like he stepped into my world and touched everything that meant something to me.
I've carried that memory with me all these years. For it to illicit such emotion, as I type this with watery eyes...you gotta know how important it was and how much of an impact it created. I will turn 38 in exactly a week. To remember with such clarity, a memory of over 29 years before...that must mean something.
Never underestimate the impact of your presence.