When a student touches your heart to the point of breaking…
Just before going to bed on St. Patrick’s Day, my daughter-in-law says, “Have you seen this?” She directs me to a picture I was tagged in on my FB page.
All day I have been receiving happy St. Patrick’s Day messages from former students and colleagues, as well as friends and family. When we celebrated at school it was way over the top. I often decorated for 3 or 4 hours the day before, prior to leaving school to create a magical green paradise. My walls were totally covered in abundant green fabric and shamrocks, with every kind of Irish kitsch you could possibly imagine thrown in for good measure. On the actual day, we played games, read stories about leprechauns and even had a leprechaun visit our class. Recruiting a leprechaun every year became a fun past time. I also brought in students who took Irish dance to teach my students a few basic steps. With jigs and reels a plenty we filled the air with dancers, green donuts, and golden chocolate coins that proved an actual leprechaun had been there. And then the piece de resistance (can’t figure out how to get the accents there for the main attraction) was always my fiber optic leprechaun who lit up a dark corner of the room which was like a magnet pulling students in to its orbit, washed in Celtic wonder.
All of this to say, St. Patrick’s Day was a memorable day in my room , so much so that it has remained a bond connecting me with students and staff who passed through our alternative green world for the day. It always makes me smile with the warmth of memory and the joy of the present when messages and cards reconnect me to that world of wonder.
But the message and image I found that night on FB was more powerful that I could have imagined and went straight to my soul.. It was the most beautiful St. Patrick’s Day gift imaginable.
Here I am with my good friend and colleague whose class I invited to join us celebrating every year. So my cherished former student, battling bone cancer, enduring a full week of chemotherapy treatment, is still remembering all that Irish experience and she is surrounding herself in sporadic shamrocks that I pray will bring her Irish luck, or Latina luck or any kind of luck available.
She sent this to both of us, her former teachers, and present cheerleaders. And I feel my heartstrings being pulled apart like a warped fiddle trying to play a happy jig, but the bow will only play a reel.
The battle is real, the goalpost is real and the positive energy this Irish/Latina angel emits if also real, very real. Thank you for this beautiful gift.