Seven years ago my father passed away. I received a phone call in the middle of my day that forever changed my life – in every way. As I sat in the funeral home and greeted family, friends and strangers, I tried to make sense of what was happening around me. The entire day was mostly a blur. I remember bits and pieces, here and there, but there was one thing I will never forget. As I sat staring blankly into space a man approached me and tapped me on the shoulder. He asked if I was Tony’s daughter. Yes, I answered. He stood and stared and said, “I’m Sam. I worked with your dad. I was his apprentice. He talked about you all the time. He always said, ‘My daughter, the teacher’. Your dad was very proud of you”. I don’t remember what happened after that, it didn’t matter. He gave me an incredible gift. I never saw Sam again.
This has been the biggest year in my career. It has been so full of accomplishments, professional growth, learning experiences, networking and incredible opportunities to lead. I’ve applied for ministry grants, submitted proposals, and welcomed some very important people into my classroom. I’ve met innovative educators and had the privilege of learning and working along side them. I’ve explored new technology with my very young students and was invited to showcase it to other educators across the board. I’m making important connections, learning an incredible amount and my desire to learn and my need to be a great teacher grows exponentially. And I’ve gotten to do it all surrounded everyday by some of the sweetest little minds I’ve ever met.
Amidst all the organized chaos that this year has been, one thought is loudest: My daughter, the teacher. When I’m buried under paperwork, to do lists, full inboxes, curriculum, schedules, and twenty little bright-eyed and bushy tailed faces looking my way, I can’t help but think about how amazed you’d be with all of this – how incredibly proud you’d be. You may not be standing on this Earth, but you’re here. You’ve walked this incredible journey I’ve been on this year right beside me. It’s been amazing, hasn’t it?
“It’s one of those moments, that’s got your name written all over it
And you know that if I had just one wish
It’d be that you didn’t have to miss this
You should be here”