18 years ago this Fall I was a first year teacher in a large and diverse inner-city school district. I was 23 years old, and absolutely thrilled to have landed my dream job as a Kindergarten Teacher. I was so excited, and a bit nervous (I was completely in charge of 52 five and six year olds -- 26 kids in my morning class and 26 kids in my afternoon class), but totally ready to begin my teaching career. During that first year I met some of the neatest kids and their parents -- and I'm pretty sure I also learned more than my students did : ).
One of the first families I met were Carolyn and Bill, their son Ben and their daughter Jenna. They felt like family very early on, and it didn't take long before Tom and I would head over to their house for delicious home-cooked meals that always included really good wine, unbelievable desserts ..... and lots and lots of conversations.
Despite their family moving from Minnesota to Texas we've stayed in touch via holiday letters, photos, the internet and now Facebook : ) Carolyn and Bill are the type of friends you can not see for quite a while and pick-up like it was just yesterday that you last talked; and Carolyn has always been a friend I've admired on many levels -- and someone I learned a lot about the type of mom I hoped to be some day, through her examples.
Ben was in my first class and was the kind of student that you just wanted to clone -- he was fun and funny, smart and curious, respectful and helpful. He's now 24, just finished his 1st year of law school and is still fun and funny : )
Jenna was in my class the following year and was the kind of student that made our classroom so much fun -- she was the sweetest little thing and so darling, and still is : ) She's working on her elementary education license and wants to be a Kindergarten Teacher when she graduates. All I can think of are how lucky her future students will be, to have her as their teacher!!
This past weekend their family was in the cities for a wedding and despite tight schedules we were able to have them over for lunch and a way too short visit. It was GREAT. I love keeping connected with special friends, and seeing how these two really neat 5 and 6 year olds turned into these really neat young adults just made my weekend!!
Ella and Zoe had fun too -- and especially seemed to enjoy showing everyone the toad they found and how it could swim in their pool : ) They also fell in love with Jenna and think she has the most beautiful hair.