The kindness of [people who aren't really] strangers
Friday, November 10th was not one of my better days. I had spent the week in chaotic staff meetings, at other schools, or in public places with wireless internet access, desperately trying to resume some semblance of normalcy in my professional life. It wasn't going well. I was tired, and the images of what used to be my lovely classroom (I complained, yes, but I never mentioned here that my classroom was pleasant, colorful, a happy place to go even when I wasn't happy to be in the building) kept crowding my thoughts. People kept asking me if I was enjoying my time off, or what I thought about my "new" school, or if it wasn't about time for me to have that baby. I was on the verge of something--tears, a tantrum, an ass-kicking--and I was ready for something pleasant, something unrelated to school, to occur.
It did. When I arrived home that afternoon there was a package on my front step. I was afraid I had (once again) forgotten to return the "no, I don't want anything this month" slip to my book club, but when I glanced at the return address I saw a familiar handwritten name. I sat down on the floor and opened the package eagerly. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine how wonderful its contents could be. There were chocolate pretzels. Gum drops. Gummy things. Blue corn chips (my favorite!). Homemade cookies. There were cool magnets and a personalized t-shirt. There were fun handwritten things. There was music. Mostly there was sincere thought and a show of friendship I have been grateful for for many, many months but have never found the right words to express.
After hearing me refer to "one of my blog girls" recently, an in-real-life friend asked me if I actually knew any of the people whose blogs I read regularly, if I had ever met any of you. When I replied, "no," she asked me, "How can you say they are your friends, and how can you share so much about your personal life with complete strangers?" I think most people who do not have a support group like the one that exists here in these blogs would have the same question, but even if I attempted to explain it, they wouldn't understand. Many of you have said this more eloquently than I am about to say it, but there is definitley some connection here, some unique likeness that bonds us all together. I knew it without a doubt before, and after reading about the "convention" that occurred in NYC a few weeks ago, and after being a part of said convention even though I wasn't actually there, I knew it even more deeply. Not only have we basked in the safety of the written word, but we have also opened our "real" selves up for each other, put our faces and bodies and hearts out there for others to see. If that's not friendship I don't know what is.
So thank you, my friends--thanks for the goodies and momentos, and most of all, the thoughts and the peace you sent me. You'll never know how dramatically the course of my day shifted with the discovery of that box and all the goodness it contained.