BFF inspiration #201 is "My Favorite Teacher".
“My favorite teacher is Mrs. Young,” Braelynn announces as she runs into the house.
“Oh really?”, I inquired knowing full well she was going to fill me in on all the details, just as soon as I whipped up her daily smoothie. Braelynn, like most kids her age, is a stickler for routine. A smoothie and one cookie is the after school routine, at Gramma’s house.
Braelynn, my gorgeous granddaughter gets dropped off the school bus right in front of my house every day. I am a lucky Gramma. I get to spend time shaping this inquisitive mind. I am gifted with the right to teach her how to take care of herself, both physically and emotionally. I am fortunate that my health affords me the opportunity to spend time with her, her sister Riley, and her two cousins. Riley is down for her afternoon nap. The boys, Reid and Hudson, will be dropped off shortly. For the next forty five minutes it is an exclusive “girls only – talk time”.
Forty five minutes alone with an adult who hangs on her every word. Whoses entire universe spins only to the song of Braelynn Melissa Camp.
I make her favorite smoothie today, strawberries and banana. She grabs a freshly made cookie from the cooling rack and settles into a stool at the counter. Her fine auburn hair has pulled itself from the pony tail her mother sent her to school in. She smushes a few strands of hair away from her face with the back of her hand only to have it fall back as soon as her hand is removed.
“There is a contest at school. Well, I don’t know if it’s at our school, but it’s definitely for the school.” Braelynn can speak as she inhales and exhales, making all of her words and sentences run together. If she is laughing as she speaks, I haven’t a clue what she is saying.
“Well”, she begins, “we each have to vote on our favorite teacher tomorrow. The teacher who gets the most votes wins a prize. And I’m gonna vote for Mrs. Young”.
The note in her Barbie pink backpack states there is indeed a contest and that the children are going to be the voters.
I daydream for a few moments, while she munches the cookie and slurps her smoothie through the pink bendable straw. (HAS to be bendable – gee whiz, Gramma)
Who would I vote as my favorite teacher? Would I select one of the many instructors who inspired me? Or would I choose one who drove me? Perhaps one that set the best example? It would a very tough decision, at my age there have been so many teachers.
My first grade teacher was so kind and patient. I contracted measles, mumps and then measles again in first grade. We were a sharing grade of kids! She was patient in making certain I got my school work to do at home and that I was “all caught up” with the rest of the class each time I was able to go back to school. Measles twice!
My fourth grade teacher guided me to “advanced” classes. She quietly tested each of us in her care with caution not to hurt anyone’s feeling., Three of us were moved to an advanced level. She made sure I could sign up for Science Club and attend on the “off” days from my piano lessons.
George King, the bus driver, taught me a lot. He was a trapper for the State of Michigan. If you had “varmint” problems, George was the person you called in . George taught us through example. He ate almost everything he caught. (never saw him eat skunk) By allowing my siblings and I to taste his fresh honeycomb, we all developed a taste for it! George showed us the advantages to wildlife by leaving the wooded areas wooded. We have loons on the lake, I like to think it was George that made us all take note when they left for a few years and make amends to get them to return. George King lived down the street from us and was in my life from the time I was six until he died. I still miss that mangy, bow legged, balding, opinionated, old fart.
Oh, the different animals I was privileged to grow up with. When very young, we had a lovely golden retriever, Honey. She taught me perseverance. No matter how high the fence was, how many different ways my parents locked the back yard gate, nor how many rocks they stacked in the holes she tried to dig under the fence, Honey got out of the back yard. Honey would come to the school and find either my younger brother, Scott, or me. She would come to the window of our classroom and jump up and down barking at the windows just outside of the room. Many were the days I walked Honey back home and put her in the basement.
My seventh grade history teacher, Mr. Hahnenberg, taught me to leave self-pity behind and put my nose to the grind stone. My mother fell down and needed brain surgery a few months before school started. He made certain I always had extra fun homework to do. I was too “busy” to be worried. Between milking cows, taking care of the two younger siblings and completing my homework, I had a complete day.
Braelynn snaps me back to the task at hand. “Gramma, could I please have more of the smoothie before the boys get here and drink it all up?” I pour my beautiful girl a little more, saving some for the boys and her sister when she awakens.
Would I say my daughter Chris was my favorite teacher? She made me change my behavior, outlook on life, and lifestyle. She demanded I learn the lessons of being a mother. Giving of yourself and even if you do expect a reciprocation, not to be heartbroken if none comes along. More than just a few gray hairs are attributed to this young lady!
My husband, Bob? Oh the lessons he’s taught me! Whew. Perhaps I ought not go into that right now.
“Tomorrow is voting day, Gramma, and I wanna look really, really nice. Can I wear your pearls?”
“To school?” I stammered.
“Yeah, I wanna,” she demands with a telling, petulant pout on her lips. She already knows the answer, just a test, a gentle push to see if Gramma is really wound around her little finger as tightly as she thinks.
“No, I think I will keep them with me until you are older. Maybe sixteen. Zat sound good?” I know her. I know I have to give her a timeline. She likes routine. The boys, they have enough routine just rough housing through the day. Braelynn prefers to ponder, musing over a thought until she has seen it from every angle possible. Only then will she have an opinion. Heaven help the person who tries to dissuade her from that opinion. Once set, it’s set in stone.
“What do the Reid, Hudson and Riley get?”, she has her brows knitted together contemplating the individual gifts.
“Well, we shall see what they might like when they get older. Perhaps Hudsey (nick name for Hudson) would like one of Papa’s watches. Papa has some beautiful watches. Perhaps Reid would like Papa’s ring with the ruby in it. I don’t know what Riley will want. What trinket do you think she would like when she turns sixteen?” Trying to divert her from wanting the pearls NOW.
“Riley likes blue. She will want the turquoise necklace you have hanging up. Does she get the earrings and the ring too?” Now she’s sizing me up.
“Well, I would think she would want the whole set. Don’t you?” I smirk as I watch her eyes get big. She is trying to envision the matching pearl earrings. “Let’s go check to see if you like them.”
We climb the stairs to my bedroom, open the jewelry armoire, and there in the white jeweler’s box are the matching earrings as promised. Braelynn runs to the bathroom mirror, holding them up to her ears. Against her auburn strands of hanging hair I can see the future. The earrings are going to be stunning on her. They will love her as much as she loves them.
“I sure wish I could wear them to school to show Mrs. Young.” She begins to pout.
Laughing, I think to myself I have been given such wonderful teachers. Patience, humor, concentration, persistence and love. What other lessons does one really need to know. My grandchildren are my favorite teachers.