I’ve been thinking quite a little bit about my friend and mentor lately. Actually, I’ve been thinking about connections…making initial connections, staying connected over time and space, renewing connections, and why these are so important. Somehow this train of thought makes me think of her. I say somehow like it’s a big mystery to me…she’s the most actively connected human being I know. She’s one of those people that make other people say, “I want to be J when I grow up.” I know her well enough to know I don’t want to be her…but I do long to be more like her.
She has this uncanny knack for freeing herself enough to engage with most anyone she comes in contact with. I am awed by her.
I first knew her when she was the director of our church’s preschool where Thing 1 went starting when she was 18 months old, she was kind and caring but she was not yet my friend. When Thing 2 started there at age 14 months, we’d known each other for three years and had gotten closer because I was on the school’s parent committee and the chair of the fundraising program, I remember wanting so much for her to like me.
Three years later, the summer before Thing 1 starts second grade and Thing 2 starts her last year at this truly spectacular preschool I get a phone call from J asking me if I want to teach in the toddler class. And that was really the beginning of us becoming close.
The time I asked rather loudly at a faculty meeting if she was on crack may have sealed our friendship fate.
My friend and mentor has so much love in her and she’s unbelievably generous with that love. She’s filled with joy and verve and a positivity that is truly something to behold. She’s a teeny little woman who is the biggest bundle of energy in the most positive sense of the phrase. She’s one of those ‘turn life’s lemons into lemonade’ kind of people, and let me tell you it’s the damnedest thing because I’ve seen her make the most delicious lemonade when she’s up to her ass in life’s lemons.
She is the reason I blog. She asked me to write with her on her blog (She’s an early childhood education specialist.) because she hates to write. Those collaborations lead to therobynbirdsnest. (Merci beau coup.)
She is a Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor, she’s a consulting educator, she’s an educator of educators and parents of young children. She connects every day with teachers and administrators and parents and teaches them how to really connect with young children and how to teach and learn with them through those sincere and authentic connections.
She brings that level of intimacy into her everyday life too, that immediacy, that authenticity is a natural part of everything she does. That’s what I want to be when I grow up, you know?
She is such a gift to we who are lucky enough to have her in our lives. She is connected to each of us in her own unique way, connected not only with a desire to be connected to the people she knows, but sincere passion for the connection itself.
Can you learn to open yourself enough to develop that level of connection or do you have to be born with the gift? Are any of us willing to invest what it takes to develop that level of connection? Making connections and being able to remain connected and reestablishing connection if there is a disruption…this is one of the most positive and rewarding skill sets we can master. And if we can’t master it then we can emulate it by trying every day to show up and open up and be authentic in our interactions with the people around us.
I believe my friend and mentor was given this gift with birth. I cannot describe how lacking my life would be had she not.
I want to be more connected…not only to those around me but to myself…I need to look at myself and judge less and accept more…I need to pour a big old glass of life’s lemonade and connect with the most authentic me.