”It was the best of times. It was the worst of times” …
2017 was that kind of year for me.
Sharp contrasts ranged from heathcare issues, to joyous family occasions (like my niece’s wedding up in Holiday Valley).
From my cat Lucy suffering sudden severe diabetes, to (miraculously) being diabetes-free a couple of weeks later.
From a ‘frozen shoulder’ that made two drug-free childbirths seem like child’s play, to meeting my music mandolin idol Sam Bush (more on that in a future blog!).
And from fears I have for our country and world, to the personal joys I’ve experienced with a local book club, piano lessons and fulfilling volunteer work (like organizing a Thanksgiving fund drive, mentoring, holiday shopping for kids in need, other ‘feed the hungry’ activities).
Best of all has to be the satisfaction of seeing my kids blossom into fine young people and getting to see their impact on others.
This tale is about Jamie’s teaching experiences in Northampton County, North Carolina …
In April, I went down to NC (frozen shoulder and all) to see daughter Jamie in action, teaching high school history in what was definitely a ‘Best of Times’ for me.
I got to see Jamie in her element, up in front of her classes, sharing stories and planning activities to try to make things interesting and relevant. Even singing (mainly to bug the kids) and talking about our cats (in the most annoying little ‘cat voice’ you’ve ever heard). As you may have guessed by now, we are a cat-fanatic family (more to come in a future blog).
Jamie’s ease and confidence were awe-inspiring to me. She also made me a part of things, having me share some of my firsthand ‘ancient history’ experiences, like being a real-life Baby Boomer and buying a Levitt house on Long Island* when newly married, where Jamie and Dan spent a few young years. She even had me talk a little about being a ‘successful career woman,’ which was pretty flattering.
Click on images to enlarge
Most of all, though, the kids inspired me. They were fun, funny and passionate. They tease Jamie relentlessly (which I think is only karma and payback at its best) … and she gives it right back to them. And though most come from challenging financial and family environments, they were so full of life and many had a real eagerness to learn. They’re also part of a first-year program that combines their high school curriculum with classes at the nearby community college. So after four years, they’ll get their Associate’s degree.
From a truly selfish perspective, they make me feel special and great. A bunch follow me on Instagram, they say my ‘kicks are fresh’ and that I’m ‘way cooler than Ms. Cooke’ (I know it’s just to knock Jamie, but I’ll take it!) One young man even said I’m the ‘OG of moms’ (which I had to look up in Urban dictionary). Jamie assured me it was a compliment.
They also said they were waiting for my blog – so here you go, kids of Northampton County, NC. A huge, heartfelt thank you for making my day when I came down to visit. I really hope to see you again in the spring and wish you only the best of luck and success now and in the future.
Watch for my next blog: Happiness matters!