Teachers get a lot of interesting gifts from their students. I think the most interesting, and inappropriate gift I received was a long, pink nightgown from the child of a Filipino mother. She also gave me one of my best gifts — dinner out (with her) at a fancy restaurant in Arlington. I got a lot of mugs, most of which are broken or given away these 20 years since I last stepped foot in a classroom as a teacher. I already wrote about one of my favorite gifts, my cheeseburger pencil holder. A couple parents gave me things they made themselves and I have one or two of those left, including this needlepoint sampler.
The mother of one of the sweetest children I ever met made this and gave it to me in 1988. Her son, Michael, was probably in first grade at the time. He and his family moved from St. Angelo, Texas at the beginning of the school year because his father got a job at the Pentagon. He was a Marine, and scary as hell, but his wife and son were so sweet and kind.
Michael was in my class because he had a brain tumor when he was very young that caused him to have seizures, so many a day that he had to wear a helmet most of the time to protect his head for when he fell. The seizures mostly stopped when the tumor was removed, but he was still slightly delayed because of the brain trauma. He also had a brain stent to reduce fluids from building up around his brain.
A few years after the family moved to the DC area, the father developed a seizure disorder. I remember talking to Michael’s mom about how unfair it was that both her son and now her husband had seizure disorders and asked her how she stayed so positive and she told me that it is not that God gives you only what you can handle in life, but you learn to handle what God gives you ((this was a Catholic school, hence the God stuff)).
I last talked to Michael’s mom (and Michael) after I gave birth to my daughter. It was a brief conversation, but it was memorable in that both she and Michael were still very positive people. Michael will be in his thirties now. I hope he is still as cheerful as he was as a child.