Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Unexpected Love

It's not easy for me to trust people. I'm learning that. I think I trust myself. But I'm slowly realizing that I'm not an island.

No matter how many times I listen to the Simon and Garfunkel song:

"I have my books, and my poetry to protect me.
I am shielded in my armor.
Hiding in my room
Safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me....
I am a rock
I am an Island. " ~S&G

I can't tell you how many times I've listened to that song, belting out that particular refrain. I'm laughing now, thinking of the fifteen year old me in the eighties holding onto 1960's music.

Anyway, the oddest thing is happening to me lately. I've fallen in love. Unexpectedly.

With my students!

They are mean. They are on the last leg of a long journey. Some have been in prison, some are on there way there. Many are 16 and pregnant. All of them are angry. None of them are here because they want to be. They have trust issues. Like me.

So I'm able to coax them, cajole them, convince them that they are amazing. And in doing so, I'm realizing my own worth.

"I love you," I say to them and little girl Suzanne opens her arms.
"You amaze me every single day!" I say to them and little girl Suzanne creeps toward me.
"How smart you are!" I exclaim, and little girl Suzanne smiles.

She smiles and then they smile. I can't explain those smiles. They almost crack the faces of these kids so used to scowling. So used to beatings and being misunderstood.

I don't know how much US History or Civics they are learning. But man, am I learning something. And at least I know they love me back. They leave their things in my room. They smile at me in the hall. They come to my defense when the administration admonishes me for my unorthodox approach to teaching.

And one even offered to total my car for me. Really. It was after I was complaining that I needed a new car and my husband wasn't really wanting to spend the money.

After class one of them came in and sat down.
"Ms?" he asked.
"You know..." he took his hat off and looked down at his feet. "You know.. I could steal your car and make sure it's totaled. You could get the insurance..."

I laughed a little and told him that it wouldn't be necessary. But I thanked him.

And then I walked out of the building full of--- LOVE. And trust too.

I'd take these kids with me to my island. I sure would.



  1. yes, some already knew it,,,

  2. Suzy! I've been gone WAY too long because everything is new here! And this post? You have always amazed me with your writing, with your ability to draw me down into the moist recesses of my soul. But this time you did it not through characters you've drawn, but by yourSELF. I love that.

    Thank you for sharing YOU with us.

  3. glen: You always make me smile.

    Ali! Yes, I've missed you! Stay??

  4. What a wonderful gift. To reach those who seem to be unreachable and gain their respect and love. You are amazing.

    Have to love the young fella who offered total your car. What a sweetheart!

  5. Ann: I know, right? True love.

  6. Offered what he had to give (at some risk!) What an amazing experience you are having.

  7. Tricia, you have NO idea! It's so, so amazing. I'm so lucky every day. I really love them. It's not fake. XO S

  8. This has caused me to think about my own path. Once again, you have touched a place in my heart. I sent a shout out to you on a post that was just inspired from this one.

    Congrats on falling in love, unexpectedly!

  9. I tried to make the song mine so many times. But like you, there is always someone to love, or who needs love, reducing the meaning of the words.

  10. Anthony! I knew you would feel that lyric!

  11. Powerful writing my dear. And a sweet story too. Of course, now if your car gets stolen you might have an issue... :)

  12. now that warmed my heart.

    And my soul.