It was a departure like many others throughout the years. Mom and Dad standing on the driveway waving good-bye, me fumbling around pretending to check the gas gauge while fighting the lump in my throat. After all these years, saying goodbye was still not easy.
And then I saw it. I looked up and saw my mother in a way I had never seen her before. She seemed more frail than I remembered. She looked smaller and a wisp of white hair hung down on her face. Her eyes still twinkled, but there were lines and a hollowness to her face that I had not seen before. I knew in that moment things had changed. I knew I would call her more often. I knew I would try to be a better daughter.
Small moments like this can teach us if we are open to learn, even in our professional lives. When August 24th arrives children will spill out of the buses, into our classrooms and into our hearts. We will be busy all year long... pouring over pacing guides and indicators, planning short-cycle assessments, making parent phone calls. We will arrive at school early and go home late. And we will continue to work at this frantic pace for 184 more days.
But within those 185 days there are thousands of small moments waiting to be discovered. Small moments with great lessons just waiting to be learned. Maybe it will be a lesson about you as a teacher. Maybe it will be a lesson about you as a colleague. Whatever the lesson, here's to wishing you many small moments throughout the 2009-10 school year. I hope you laugh, I hope you have a lump in your throat. For these are the small moments that make us real.