I don’t know if you believe in this stuff or not, but I do. Yesterday I was looking through a folder of old writings I had saved at school. I came across an email my daughter sent to me. It was in regards to having a Christmas celebration at my dad’s house, which now belonged to my nephew since my dad had passed away six months earlier. She just didn’t feel right about going to his house like we had every year since she was little and seeing the Christmas tree in the wrong corner and the walls the wrong color and his recliner with him in it gone. As I read her email lots of feelings came back. I was hesitant too. But in the end we went and it was fine. We were fine. So as I finished reading this old email and pausing to feel the memory, I glanced up at my computer screen. There, filling the screen was my dad. Not in some eery unearthly way, but in the iPhoto screen saver way. With as many photos as I have on my computer, what are the chances that his picture would be in the line up just then? I said aloud, “Hi dad.”
Later, my daughter sent me a message and showed me the piece of writing she completed yesterday. In it she captured some beautiful and tender memories of my mom. With her permission I posted it last night. When I read it, I felt my mom’s presence and her radiant smile.
So there you have it. I felt a connection to both my parents yesterday. And today I came home to find an envelope on the counter. It’s the envelope I have been waiting for for two weeks. My hands were shaking. I picked it up. I put it down. I picked it up, flipped it over, felt its weight and bulk and put it down. I left the kitchen. I came back and picked it up. I put it down. I walked out of the room again.
Why so nervous you wonder? In September I was nominated for the Herb Kohl Fellowship Award. By the end of November, I had submitted the required six pages of questions and answers along with three letters of recommendation. Only 100 Wisconsin teachers are recipients of this award each year. It includes a $3000 grant for the teacher and also $3000 for the school. The winners were to be informed in early March.
I walked back into the kitchen and picked up the letter. I turned it over and began peeling it open. My hands were really fumbling and my heart was like a thousand butterflies taking off at once. I knew that this late in the month it was going to be an “I’m sorry” letter. But as I pulled the letter out, my eyes fixated on the word “pleasure” in the top line. “Pleasure!” Nobody gets pleasure in delivering bad news! I flipped the page around and read, “It is my pleasure to inform you that you have been selected as a 2015 Herb Kohl Fellowship recipient.” The relief and joy are still being processed. Fist bumps are the order of this day as are intermittent screams of “All Riighhtt!” I wouldn’t be surprised if they are the order of the day tomorrow as well.
The best part is that I feel as if my parents are celebrating with me. They feel so close right now.