Wednesday, May 02, 2012

so many flowers, so little time

I’m trying to get the last lecture, a difficult lecture, a supremely difficult lecture together. Ed is firing off questions about a case, an out of the blue unrelated case that he is intensely curious about. I tell him – you’re a distraction!

It is often like that. Ed is a distraction. I like, nay, love working at home. But I have to work around the idea that Ed throws out queries and usually they are hard to ignore.

By the time I post this I’ll be officially after the spring semester and onto the summer months. My teaching will have ended, my need to wake up early, super super early will be behind me.

Dinner – I will have wiped clear traces of it. Washed plates and chopsticks, discarded boxes that once held the Chinese take out.

DSC06724 - Version 2

This spring, the story that I tell my students at the close of the semester is different from previous ones. I tell them about my grandmother and her insatiable desire to bring a smile to the faces of her two granddaughters. I don't look for stories to pass on. They come to me and when they do, I tell them.

At the end of the school year, I get in my law school mailbox a sprinkling of notes from kind hearted students. You may hear endless complaints about this generation of young people who know how to take and not once give back – let me tell you, so many of the ones I’ve come across know how to give back and then some. Today, I found in my mailbox one of the most beautifully written notes ever and I paused a great while to think – how is it that he found the time to do this, to want to share something positive with a random teacher in his law school years?

Law school is a funny place. You come with great expectations, you lose a good three years of your life and a hefty sum of money to get through it all and then you’re done and so often you don’t think back to what just happened. You’re done, for Pete’s sake, you’re done! Move on! Finally! Your spouse, girlfriend, cat, mother, father, all those who love you are so happy you’re out of there!

And I am too. I'm happy for you. But for one brief second, I remember the time you, the student said something incredibly endearing, risky, funny, clumsy, from the heart special and I think -- wow, I'm so sorry to see you leave and move on.

So I’m working hard tonight – I have to turn in exam questions by daybreak – but I’m also thinking about my grandma and her sticking a gift, her gift, actually nothing more than a bunch of frozen chicken breasts into my bag when last I visited her, just before she died. That’s all she had to give by then. Despite dementia, despite all that was wrong with her, she rambled over to her freezer and reached for those chicken breasts.

 There are some things that you just never forget.