The last time I saw her, she had tears streaming down her face and she was clinging to my waist and begging me not to leave her. Gabe had gotten a job in Columbus, and I had to leave my darling class of third-graders in Cleveland two months before the school year was over. It wasn’t an easy time.
That was March of 2000. I was 24. She was 8.
Today, a beautiful 19-year-old young woman pulled into my driveway and I ran out to meet her and wrapped her in a huge hug. “I can’t believe I’m really here,” she said.
She looks exactly the same at 19 as she did at 8, except taller, curvier and even more beautiful.
We played Sorry with Nina and put together four 100-piece Strawberry Shortcake puzzles and listened to Nina read Llama, Llama, Red Pajama, and painted cardboard and made Dotza pictures and ate pizza and walked through the Metro Gardens and made chocolate-chip cookies and looked at old pictures.
And then the girls went to bed, and we sat on the couch and chatted about life and how it’s hard sometimes and we don’t really have all the answers (or any of them for that matter), and then Gabe came down and offered his male perspective and made us laugh and then we looked at pictures from the Metro Gardens and I’m throwing together some words for a blog post.
She’ll spend the night and go home sometime tomorrow and Nina will miss her like crazy because they’ve really bonded and I’ll miss her like crazy too but I know she’ll come visit even though she’ll be busy finishing up her degree and then going to English Nanny and Governess School and taking care of some lucky kiddos because that’s her passion.
And I thank God for bringing her into my classroom as an 8-year-old and into my heart and into my home. She’s a super-special young lady, and I’m so so blessed to know her.
I love you, Amanda.
Love, Mrs. T.