Last week, a random guy at a Royals baseball game made me smile.
That sounds worse than it is. Keep reading -- I'm not a bad wife. :) [If my hubby reads this post -- I hope I freak him out!!]
So, a random guy made me smile with an incredibly kind comment. In fact, it was probably one of the nicest things I've ever been told. It had nothing to do with how I looked, what I was wearing, a joke I told, or really my personality at all. It was about my job.
Let me set the stage for you. Enter: me. After a couple margaritas at the Royals stadium. I was sitting with my sister, and my margaritas were making me very friendly with strangers around us. Hey - it happens.
Like the beginning of every school year, my allergies were at their peak last week. To top it off, I had spent the last 2 weeks straight talking, reading, and singing with/to a class of kindergartners. My voice was in bad shape. To put it in one of my girlfriend's words, I sounded like I had "an old lady smoker's cough."
My sister and I were laughing and talking about something when I had a little coughing fit. A guy in the row in front of us turned around and made some sarcastic comment about me quitting smoking. :)
Okay... this is where it all happens...
Me: "Ha ha. No, I don't smoke. I just lost my voice at work."
Random guy: "Oh. What do you do? Are you like a lawyer or a singer or something?"
Me: "Oh, no. I'm just a teacher."
RG (suddenly very serious): "Don't ever say that again."
Me (shocked): "Ummm... what?"
RG: "You said just. You are not just a teacher. You are a teacher."
I'm pretty sure a huge smile creeped on my face soon after.
Me: "That was probably one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. Except maybe 'Will you marry me?'"
(Random guy's girlfriend enters with drinks)
Me: "You have yourself quite a nice guy here. I think he's a keeper."
I told her what had happened... and she, of course, agreed that she should keep him. :)
That's it. I don't even remember what he looked like, but I thought that was an incredible thing to say. I'm not sure if his mom was a teacher, or he was a teacher, or maybe he just always respected educational careers. But, he sure made an impression with me. And I won't forget what he said.
I'm not proud of myself for saying that word. In fact, I'm actually pretty ashamed of myself. But, unfortunately, I know exactly why I said it. Growing up, and even into my early adulthood, that's what teachers were to me -- just teachers. Don't think I'm terrible -- I'm just being completely honest.
Anyone who knows me in my professional life is floored when they find out I didn't decide to be a teacher until I was 20. Anyone can see -- I absolutely LOVE my job. I feel like I was born to teach kindergarten. I honestly can't believe I never wanted to do this incredibly fun, versatile, rewarding, and ever-changing job.
But, I didn't.
You see, I was a very intelligent child. I know that sounds like a strange statement -- but I just was. I was incredibly ornery in school because it was just so easy for me. My parents were strongly encouraged to skip me a grade or two, but with a sister just a year ahead of me, it just wasn't an option. So, my gifted teacher had her work cut out for her. :)
I graduated high school with a 4.0 -- college, too (and now graduate school, too!) My parents and my sisters had big plans for me after high school. I was going the child that was going to be a scientist, or a journalist, or a doctor. They all knew how easy school was for me -- how naturally learning came to me -- so they were all ready to watch me do something great.
After a couple changes in my major, I realized that forensic science and anthropology both were not as fast-paced and interesting as I had hoped for. My lifelong dream of being a journalist fell flat after an internship at a newspaper. Everyone hated their jobs, lived for deadlines, and also seemed to hate each other.
During my sophomore year of college, I suddenly had an epiphany. "I think I want to be a teacher." It made sense -- I had always loved kids. I always liked school growing up -- it was fun. Yes, this was right for me.
My parents were devastated. It sounds bad, but they were.
They even made me go to a career counselor. [Mom and Dad, if you're reading this, I hope you laugh!]
But, I had finally made up my mind.
And here I am today. I am so happy that I made it here. I am so blessed to not only enjoy my job, but I know that I am also very good at what I do. What else could you ever want in a career?!
And... my family is incredibly proud. My mom visits my classroom every year, my family begs me to tell them stories about my week every Friday, and both of my parents are always telling stories about me to their friends. I honestly have never seem my dad as proud of me as he is when he tells his colleagues, "My daughter is a kindergarten teacher."
Life has a funny way of getting you exactly where you belong.