A miracle occurred last night. And it couldn't have come at a better time. I have been discouraged, tired of being sick, and needing something. This miracle lifted my heart to new heights.
It starts with a secret. I had a favorite student. I know, I know, as a teacher you are NEVER supposed to have a pet. And I never let it show, mainly because sometimes she could REALLY try my patience. But in 1993, this little girl came into my classroom at 6 years old and promptly crawled up into my heart and never left. This little girl was scared, feisty, and had a little light in her eyes that no one had ever seen or nurtured. What she knew was fighting. That was the only way she got things, I think. She came from a rather large family and was a twin. You know she had to be feisty to make herself heard. What I saw in her though, was not a bad child, but a child who simply didn't know another way. This had worked for her. Fighting got her what she needed, so why try another way? Yes, all of this at 6 years of age. So I took her in my heart and got to keep her in first grade, second grade, and third grade. I had the privilege to watch this young girl learn other ways to get what she wanted. Now, she still fought, because in her neighborhood, I think she had to. (I didn't quite understand that then, but I do now.) And beneath that tough girl exterior was a loving little girl. And smart! Wow, once she stopped fighting me, she learned FAST!!! To be honest that was the true miracle. She was amazing. When Jack got a job in Maryland, I was crushed. Yes, I had a great reputation in Waco that I didn't want to leave. I had worked hard for that. But I didn't want to leave this little girl. I felt like I was abandoning her like others in her life had done. What message would that send this little girl that I adored? This was before computers and cell phones. This 9 year old was not going to write me letters and send them in the mail, so how would I keep letting her know that I was there? How would I communicate encouragement to her if I was not near? I was crushed. To be honest, I think I went into a depression over this. Of course, the big move, having 2 small children, living in a different culture (DC is a different culture, believe me), and the huge shift in our family life all contributed. But I think the start was feeling like I abandoned this little girl.
So, I held her in my heart. I kept up with her the only way I could, in my heart. I thought about her as she started 4th grade, 5th grade, 6th grade, etc. I sent good thoughts to her. I encouraged her to not give up. To keep trying even though she might be discouraged. I prayed her fighting would not get her into too much trouble. I prayed nothing untoward would come to her. Then I started helping other girls here in NC. I felt by helping them, I was helping her wherever she was. I kept up with one young girl who reminded me a bit of the TX girl. She had the same fight and sparkle in her eyes. But she moved away and I lost her too.
Leaving teaching was the hardest thing I have done. But leaving Shamika was harder. Now though, the universe has sent me a miracle. I found her. I found her on facebook. She is alive. Oh she looks good. She remembers me. She is graduating this weekend. She looks happy. I am so excited to catch up with her. I want to know how much she had to fight to get to where she is. I want to know if she felt me in her heart. I want to know that she has found love. I am so excited.
So the secret is out. In my heart are really 3 children, Stephen, Allie and Shamika. She has been there all these years, and will stay there till the end. Now I get to welcome her home. I wish I could be there this weekend, Shamika, to watch you graduate. I would hoot and holler louder than anyone. I would gather you in my arms and hug you tight. I would kiss your cheek and tell you how proud of you I am. I would beam. So girl, feel that. Hear me as you cross the stage, feel my hug, feel my kiss, and hear my words.........
I AM PROUD OF YOU!!
LOVE, MRS. MCKINNEY