As I write this, my mom is arriving at her last day of work as a school media specialist. For a little over 34 years, she has helped children learn to love reading, teachers to be creative in using all the media available to them to teach, and whole schools to be richer parts of their communities.
One of my earliest memories is from when I was three years old. It was my mom’s first year as a media specialist. After she came home from school one day, we sat on the floor with a shoe box she had covered in paper and with a hole cut out of the top. Inside the box were small objects whose names all started with the same letter. The game was that I would reach into the box, pick up an object, and try to figure out what it was just by touch. It was a fun way to learn letters, sounds, and words. The thing about the memory is, I distinctly remember knowing that I was learning and thinking the three-year-old equivalent of, “This is SO cool!” I think that moment set the stage for every bit of school, reading, learning, and teaching I ever experienced. I didn’t understand until my first year of teaching what a sacrifice of time and energy it was for my mom to sit with me on the floor after a full school day, delighting in me and in helping me learn. When I did understand that, it made the memory all the more precious.
My mom has been doing that same thing, in all kinds of ways, over and over and over again, for thousands of people, for more than three decades. She took two of my brothers to school with her each day for years, pouring her life into theirs as well. Along the way, and I think without very many words to the effect, we learned that choosing work one enjoys, which makes a difference, makes all the difference. It sure has for my mom.
So, today, congratulations and thank you to Theresa Hewitt…Mommy…Memaw…Grandma. Small words, deeply felt, for a very important life so far. God bless every single second of your retirement! Amen.