I have a special feeling to share with y’all. A most special feeling, actually.
At the inception of my California story in 2010, I tutored at a wonderful little middle school. For the last two years, that job supplied me income, yes. But beyond a monthly paycheck, that job launched me unabashedly into tutoring. Into youth involvement.
It’s highly possible I’d not have even stepped into these last two summer camps without this position preparing me first.
Because of my delayed return to California this past fall, I was unable to return to my middle school immediately. Would have to wait until the new year for a position to reopen for me.
And so yesterday, after 8 long months, I returned. I finally returned.
Truthfully, I didn’t give my return much introspection. I mean, hooray: more work/income. And I’d once again enjoy GEORGE’S for lunch on a semi-borderline, too often basis.
I thought nothing much of the kids I’d be returning to.
I parked in the all too familiar lot (yes, this very lot) and entered the all too familiar school. Reassumed the helm of my table. Waited for the all too familiar chime to signal the start of a job I actually started well over two years ago.
“It’s Mr. Tom!”
I looked up.
Saw a flock of seventh graders, formerly short and precious, now a slightly taller breed of eighth graders and even more precious still. The girls prettier; the boys speaking with voices that couldn’t have possibly been theirs.
I stuttered. Smiled. Winced. Felt joy and agony all at once. Knew not which feeling to embrace more.
I recognized every last one of their faces; I remembered only two or three names.
And yet every last one of them recognized and remembered me.
As the next few hours progressed, I realized something. Something altogether sobering and beautiful. Something I desperately wished to have bestowed upon more than just two or three familiar faces.
The most special feeling in the world is being recognized. Remembered.
Even after 8 long months.