Before Cole was born and I became a stay at home mom, I was a teacher. I taught for several years in the South Bronx, and then in a private Jewish day school closer to home. I taught 3rd and 5th grades, and directed/produced the middle school musicals.
One of my favorite things about being a teacher is forming relationships with the kids and families that come into your classes. I love going to my kids’ little league games, their ballet recitals, their science fairs. When Cole needed speech therapy as an infant, I was able to get advice from one of my former student’s parents: the head of our area’s Early Intervention program. When Cole needed an emergency potty break a few weeks ago, we were passing by a former student’s home, and were able to stop in and use the bathroom. Lulu’s naming ceremony, in fact, was in my former school. The kids there are family.
I don’t teach currently, but I enjoy keeping up with my kids; I love seeing college acceptance announcements on Facebook, and prom pictures. It’s amazing to see photos of a child, who in 3rd grade used to hug my knees, at 6 feet tall entering high school.
My kids make ideal babysitters; they have known Cole since he was in utero, and I directed rehearsals throughout my “bed rest” with Lulu last year; she was born January 10th, and my show was February 4th and 5th!
There have been a few kids, over the years, who stand out. There are those who keep in touch, who I’ve been keeping track of for almost a decade now, and who I am so, so proud of.
This is Victor. Victor is smart, and quick, and funny. His, after half a dozen shows in as many years, is still the Who’s Who I use as an example each year. He choreographed one of the production numbers in Guys & Dolls, and a few years ago when I did that show with a new set of kids, he came to teach it to them.
Victor had a beautiful baby girl this fall: Emily Victoria. He is currently working 6 days a week in a pharmacy, and determining his next steps. He was in Army basic training, but had to leave because of an eye problem; right now, he is considering eye surgery in order to be eligible to re-enter the service. He has also applied to a local college in order to pursue a career in law enforcement.
I’m not going to lie: I was very upset when I learned that Victor’s girlfriend was pregnant. One of the things I stress with my age-appropriate kids time and again is birth control; having kids is HARD, especially with limited education and resources. Victor, however, has risen to the challenge. He has plans to marry his girlfriend, and he works non-stop to support his family. I love getting updates from him on Emily – she is over 15 pounds at 3 months old! – and I try to answer his parenting questions and offer what support I can. A recurring theme in our conversations is what goals he has and how he is working toward achieving them.
This is Betsy. Betsy is an amazingly hard worker. She will kill me for telling you how kind-hearted she is – but she was always willing to step out of her comfort zone to help. She did not want to even be on stage for Guys and Dolls, preferring to work out of the spotlight. She definitely was not planning to be int the “Bushel and a Peck” Hot Box number, but when we didn’t have enough dancers, there she was.
Betsy graduated from US Coast Guard boot camp last week, and will be leaving soon for her post in New Hampshire. I am so unbelievably proud of her for following her dreams and achieving such an accomplishment.
These are only 2 of my amazing, wonderful, special children. I look forward to following along on their ups and downs, along with so many others who carry my heart with them. Thank goodness for Facebook!
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
– Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!