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You Were Always Special

I wanted to share a conversation that I had after the graveside service for Mama Dot.

I saw a former teacher who had taught me Home Ec and various science classes when I attended Small Town High School.

Her daughter and I were good friends, and we have reconnected through Facebook.

This teacher was the Mr.’s mom’s college roommate and played the piano at my wedding.

She lost her husband a little over a year ago…an amazing man…and my heart has been heavy for her.

As we hugged, we began a conversation that will probably always stay with me.

First, she told me she loved me.

Oh wow.

Can you say powerful?

We shared some laughs about basketball antics that had occurred when I was in high school.  Her daughter and I were on the team, and there were a few funny moments during one particular game.  Perhaps I’ll share one day, if I can determine that I haven’t already.

Then, Ms. “M” said the thing that will ALWAYS sit in my memory, Lord willing.

She told me, “You were always really special.  You were smart, but you were really special.”

The conversation stopped.

I tried to process what she was saying.

Then I said, “Well, I didn’t feel smart.  I worked hard for every grade I got.”

That’s when she repeated, “You were always special.”

I saw her again at the church for dinner afterward and hugged her one more time…her words repeating themselves in my mind.

“You were always special.”

What did she mean, specifically?  I wish I’d asked.

As we drove home that evening, I told the Mr. about our conversation.

He couldn’t see my face as I shared because it had gotten dark, but tears were streaming down my face, and they are right now as I type this.

Growing up, I most certainly did NOT feel special.

I was not pretty…had the ugliest hair cut ever thanks to horrible instructions given by my mother to her hairdresser.  There were no Chis around at the time either.

I wasn’t very popular…or at least I didn’t feel that way.  Other girls always won the awards and got nominated for Homecoming attendant.

I was socially awkward and seemed to say the wrong things at just the wrong times.

What in the world made me special?

Her words have given me pause to reflect.

Her words also made me grateful for a woman who, though out of the classroom, continues to be a positive influence in my life by speaking words of affirmation.

Our conversation was a reminder of how important it is to speak words of love to those we teach.  You just never know when even the smallest comment will touch a person’s soul, just as hers did mine.

Thank you, Ms. M, for being one of the best teachers I ever had.

You were so tough.  Your tests freaked me out.  The way you made us get our tests signed…always when we’d made bad grades…helped keep us accountable.  Even though I got grounded, your encouragement helped me bring up my chemistry grade to an A because I not only wanted to get out of trouble but wanted to please you.

Your Home Ec class was the BEST ever.  I still have the apron I made.  The muffins we baked during the winter months were the best, even if they were from a Martha White package.  Just the fact that you let us walk to the Dixie Dandy each morning to get those mixes made things even more fun (sure can’t do that nowadays, eh?).

You have always been a wonderful mother to D and R, and I envied them for the support you always showed them.

Thank you for lifting my spirits and helping me see my young self in a new light.  Perhaps I’ll be able to let go of some of those childhood insecurities that were created by a false sense of self.

I didn’t say this back to you, but I wish I had:  You were always special to me too.

Love you so much!



One Response

  1. This is a powerful post. I agree that we MUST make an effort to tell people in our lives that we love them and care for them.

    Even though Ms. M could have told a “younger you” that you were special, I think it means more to you now than it would have at that time.

    Why not write a note to Ms. M and tell her how much her words meant to you. She needs to hear that she, too, is special.

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