There are moments when you look at something and you kind of scratch your head. You think you know what is going on, but you aren’t sure. I got a facebook friend invite from an old teacher last night. My grade 9 English teacher to be specific.
She sent me a note this morning, wondering how I was doing, saying she had thought of me so often over the years.
I was both a good student, and a terrible student. Academically my performance was mixed. As a person – I was a mess of a 13, 14, 15 year old child. I was barely functional. Mess enough that as I thought about trying to describe it, words kind of escaped me.
Perhaps it is enough to say that I don’t want to remember. I remember enough – enough to know it was hard and at times perilous. I remember enough to be thankful that I got out alive, mostly whole, mostly sane. Intact enough to function in highschool.
I wonder – when she thought of me did she wonder if I made it? If I was still alive? At times back then it must have seemed that I would be either the greatest success or a total mess, incapable of living in this world.
In truth I am neither. I am astonishingly ordinary. I work, I go home, make dinner, read, watch tv sometimes, fall into bed and do it all over again. I am well enough off, but not rich. I am average. I doubt I am what she expected, although I find myself pleased with what I am.
I am happy.
A fact that still astounds any part of my memory that remembers 14 and 15 year old me.
It seems enough to say that I am happy. It is not a bad thing to allow time and distance to gloss over some of the more terrible times in our lives. There is something to be said for selective amnesia. Something to be said for remembering enough of those times to be thankful for an ordinary life now. To be thankful for a quiet, warm and comfortable home. To be thankful for animals that love me, friends who think I am special and a husband who adores me.
And enough memory that when I sent her a note telling her how I was doing now, I said thank you. The time she spent with me, time that she was not paid for, time that was not required of her, that made a difference. I remember that still.