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My Daddyhttps://pynefloors.com/ thinks I’m pretty great.
He always has. And if that wasn’t always the case, he never let on. I was his “Sunshine Girl” and little girl me made him happy. But, if you listen to most of my extended family or old neighbors tell it, you’d get a different story.
This past Saturday, an amazing thing happened.
I ran into a man who had been my primary teacher when I was about 7 years old. His name is Ron Halls. He is a quiet, calm, kind, gentle man with glasses. I remember always feeling his love and concern as he taught our little class. He was a fantastic teacher and a safe place. When no one else wanted to teach me, he stepped in… and changed everything.
He and his wife, Karen, shared a story with me that I can’t stop thinking about.
They told me that when Brother Halls was released from his calling as a primary teacher, he received a little envelope from a girl in his class. In it was a letter telling him how much she loved him and what a wonderful teacher he had been. It also said how she would miss him and wished he was still teaching her class. He put that letter in his journal and has kept it there for 23 years. He said that it had become a source of strength and happiness. Then he hugged me, thanked me for my letter, and for being the kind of little girl I had been.
I was flabbergasted. It couldn’t be true! I was a naughty, smart-mouthed, hyperactive snot who nobody wanted to be with, wasn’t I?
Or… was I really a rambunctious, loving, creative, fun, imaginative, strong little girl who sometimes had hard moments? Was I really all that bad? Or was I just like any other little girl, sugar one minute and spice the next? I guess we’ll never really know.
In this life, many times we gravitate to the negative. We imperfect humans tend to focus on the bad instead of the good. We see everything wrong in everybody else and rarely in ourselves. It could be the most gorgeous day, and then it rains for 5 minutes and all we can talk about is the awful weather. Remembering the guilt, disappointment, or hurt seems to come naturally. On the other hand, remembering the shining moments takes work. It is easy to remember the time my cousin painted himself blue, streaked across halftime of the football game, and “embarrassed me for life.” It’s harder to remember all the hundreds of times he picked my grandma’s irises and gave them to me, just because he knew I loved them.
For the past few days, I have been thinking about that letter. I have realized that I don’t EVER want my little Tinkerbell clone to feel that she isn’t incredible because she is. I don’t want the memories shared about her to be the kind that has been shared about me. With all my heart, I want to make my children feel the way my father always made me feel. I want them to know that they are each someone special and that this world is better because they are in it.
It means a mental shift.
It means not focusing on how my baby screams louder than the banshee on Darby O’Gill and the Little People. Not whining about how whiny my son is. Not wasting energy on the fact that Miss June wet her bed, again. It means paying attention to the made-up dances, silly songs being sung from the bathroom, the extra effort that was made on this week’s spelling test, the big wet kisses, and the happy times because there truly are many. It means more unconditional love and more patience from me, and from those around me.
So, here is my goal for the month of June.
For one month, I’m going to write down one wonderful thing about each one of my children in a notebook. I’m going to take a moment to reflect on something that made me giggle, brightened my day, or gave me a glimpse into their sweet little souls. To intentionally look for the sunshine instead of the rain. To purposefully choose to focus on the good. Motherhood moments.
Maybe, then I can be like Brother Halls with his letter, and see the incredible gifts that a sassy little girl has to give.