This week, during a short stop in our (porcelain) throne room, the title of a 10/11 Reader’s Digest story caught my attention: “How to Feel Rich”. If one isn’t rich (we aren’t), feeling rich seemed like a great second place option. I read the article. As it turns out, feeling rich may actually be more than a great second option…….
The article begins with the question “Have you ever had an ‘Oh! Now I get it!’ moment? That wonderful, mind-opening instance when something happens that zooms you up to the sky and gives you a God’s-eye view of your life and you realize how incredibly well off you are? And, for that moment, you are richer than Bill Gates?” The article continues with stories about people who discovered surprising riches in memorable moments. This letter continues with stories about me and the sometimes surprising riches I have discovered recently in memorable moments. Read on.
Last week, on science fair day, long before school started and quite a bit before our contract time started, my teaching colleague entered the room where I sat frenetically entering last minute updates on the computer, and placed a Starbucks cup beside me. Herbal tea. For me. I love herbal tea though I never drink it at school. (I do everything possible to avoid school bathrooms; they have no Reader’s Digests.) Only once has he seen me drink herbal tea and that was in a restaurant on the way home from a very stressful field trip months and months ago. He is a young, hip, fun, good-looking man with a stunningly good-looking, equally young, hip, and fun wife. I am a not-young woman who is nice enough but definitely not hip. The gesture was one of pure friendship and it was purely appreciated. I felt warm (hot tea does that) and wealthy.
Science fair….Does it ever end? Maybe but not yet.
There are SO many good people in the world. One of my students, an incredibly bright boy whose guardians are very supportive but not very academically inclined, produced a science fair project with powerful potential but a primitive poster. As pretty presentation boards are not my forte, I hooked him up with Dori, an engineer from Hill Air Force Base whose daughter was selected to compete at the International Science Fair several times; she knows her boards. Dori took Wednesday and Friday afternoon off work and came to OPA to work with my student. She has also arranged for her daughter (the one who went to International and who will be home from her university on spring break this week) to meet with
my student, listen to his presentation, and answer his questions. WOW! What a rich experience for her, for him, and for me (to watch).
Science Fair….still more.
Grace completed in SAA’s science fair Tuesday. She did the entire project herself—honest! (Isn’t it the cobbler’s children who go shoeless?) She did a good job on her experiment, a great job on her board (made models to represent the petri
dishes), and a fabulous job on her presentation (practiced dozens of times in front of a mirror). And she won! Hers was named the top 7th grade project; she will go to the WSU regional science fair next Monday. She called me at school to share the news and we both felt rich.
Sand Ridge Junior High performed the play “Little Shop of Horrors” this week. It was fun to see Tanah on stage as Char. It was more fun to hear her sing her brief solo flawlessly and to listen as one of her lines drew the largest laugh of the evening. Most fun of all, though, was hearing her urgent voice on my cell phone Friday afternoon. “Mom, will you please get a gift for the girl who is doing the sound? I’ll pay you back……” Last year Tanah ran the sound board for the school play and her accolade-ers were silent; no one recognized her efforts and she was left feeling unappreciated and poor. Concerned that this year’s sound tech might have a similar experience, Tanah spoke out. Having a daughter who is sensitive, intuitive, and proactive is better than having money in the bank.
More better-than-money, memorable moments….
**Chick was so excited about the statistics he found on nuclear energy for his English report that he
leapt up and high-fived the kitchen ceiling.
**Chick parallel parks better than I do.
**Miles was VERY excited to have his mother (me) go with him in his field trip to the Nature Center [Thursday], even though she (me) fell asleep during the pika presentation. (no Reader’s Digest to keep me awake….)
**Miles said “I love my life” which I take to mean that I am doing something right.
**Miles glared at me and spat “W-O-R-K-I-N-G!!” in an accusing tone which I also take to mean that I am doing something
**Miles learned how to make PowerPoint slides at school and then spent several evenings creating PowerPoint presentations for all his favorite Green Bay players. [This was not a homework assignment, just a young boy with a passion for something besides video games.]
**The living room carpet is clean, the finger prints on the door frames have been wiped away, the stack of things that need to be donated to the thrift store is gone and the yard no longer looks like renters live here. (There is a reason Miles spat
“W-O-R-K-I-N-G!!” in an accusing tone.)
**I can see soil!! Last week my berry bushes were buried under two feet of snow. Saturday they were revealed. Spring is
**My forget-me-nots are blooming. Perhaps spring is here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
**The lamb is still alive.
**And my husband loves me. Friday night found me very sad about the loss of a dream; sometimes it is hard to let go of things even when you know that letting go is the right thing to do. Lance heard and hugged. Priceless.
So, there you have it. Wealth need not require cash.