Korey turned seven yesterday and Justin is two weeks at five. I can remember being five and seven, so I’ve been thinking that from here on in my footprint on their lives is permanent.
In fact, I remember some pretty important moments from my early childhood. Many have stayed with me. Some for the better and some it’s taken me nearly 40 years to erase. I better choose my words carefully and make sure they understand how important their self-esteem is to creating a wonderful life for themselves.
When I was five my grandmother passed away and I saw my father cry for the first time. I remember him standing at the back door window, his face shielded from his daughters, but his shoulders told the tale. I didn’t see him cry again until he suffered a stroke when I was 20. I grew up with no appreciation for the fraility of the male heart.
When I was seven, there were two elementary schools in my area. Our house sat right on the cut-off line which meant I was separated from my street friends during my first year. But, in grade one they sent me to the “cool” school. After the first week, however, they moved me back. I was crushed. That day, the boy next door came over and we played crazy eights, crazy nines and crazy tens at my back door until our Dads came home for supper. I learned how important friendship is and how simply sharing yourself with someone can lighten their load. It made me compassionate.
That year I had my favourite teacher. She taught me how delicious reading is. More pivotal, I learned that good things do follow bad.
I’m also reminded how important my back door was.