This evening I had the pleasure of watching Maddie’s school’s talent show.
I say pleasure because 1. Maddie was in it and 2. I really thought it was going to suck (as many elementary school talent shows can) and it totally didn’t!!!
So Maddie’s talent was actually a group talent. Her and some friends, led by a courageous and talented mom, designed, sewed, and then modeled their own outfits. It was “Project Runway” ala kids. And it came out really good. Some of the girls made dresses, some designed and made shirts, some made skirts out of recycled materials, and some made cute pajama sets. One girl sewed and made everyone purses (and now she’s selling them at school for $5 a purse. Quite the entrepreneur!).
Maddie made a dress. All by herself. This is amazing because it came out really cute and now she can–probably–sew better than me.
So I am thankful that Maddie learned to sew and designed and made such a beautiful dress. I felt so proud watching her walk down the runway!
And then earlier today the most remarkable, amazing, beautiful thing happened to me. Let me explain.
There is this retired and esteemed professor from the university I teach at that has quite a reputation. He is known as being the “best” instructor anyone has ever had, a professor who would listen for hours as a student mused on life or worked on a piece of writing, a local “hero” father who raised two wonderful children that went on to be incredibly successful and wonderful themselves, a professor who welcomed each new instructor to our department and made their transition so much easier, and finally a professor who, through his love of literature and writing, could be so passionate about a poem and novel that he actually brought two of my good friends to love and now, 15 years later, they’re married with two kids, and they both attribute the beginning of their love to this one professor.
But, I don’t really know this professor. He retired soon after I began teaching, and though I’ve been formally introduced a few times, I’m sure if I saw this man in the store, he would not remember my name nor probably even remember that we’ve met.
But at my last reader’s group meeting this esteemed professor and his wife came up in conversation and how they had just purchased a summer home in Astoria, Oregon. In passing, I mentioned how much I loved Astoria when I stayed there once–how beautiful of a town it was. That was all I said.
Well, one of my reading group members had lunch the other day with this professor and mentioned what I had said.
Today, I opened my email and received this message from esteemed professor’s wife:
Hello [my name],
It’s a small world–I just learned from [husband’s name aka esteemed professor], via [book club member], aka The Village Crier, that Astoria is one of your favorite places in the whole world. It’s one of mine too, and [husband’s name] and I feel so incredibly fortunate to have been able to buy a darling little place up there. (The attached photo shows the front part of the house viewed from the window in the tool-shed.) What I would like you to know is that, if you can get some time free and would like to go up there with your kids for a stay, we would like that very much. I don’t have a calendar set up yet, but our goal is to share this with friends and family as often as possible. You are a part-timer in the English department, which makes you part of an extended family of English-Teacher-Threatened-Species-Struggling-Dinosaurs (that is a compliment, by the way), and I have always heard good things about you, and our paths crossed briefly several years ago when you joined the potluck brigade for[a colleague that died of cancer] and his family. It would be an honor to have you use our place.
I can give you details if you want [many details are given] You could check out the location on MapQuest. It’s about a mile and a half walk to town, easily done along the RiverWalk.
I’m sure you already know that Astoria and surroundings have lots and lots of things to do with kids–one of the best, in my book, is the Aquatic Center, in case you’ve never used it. Kids have a total blast there, it’s really neat, and a great rainy-day activity.
Lastly, don’t worry about money–I’m more into the “pay it forward” economy.
I hope you will take us up on this. If you’re interested, just get back to me and we’ll work out a timeframe.
[the nicest people on the earth]
Can you believe this??? Apparently, esteemed professor is esteemed in part because he has a wife who is of equal wonderfulness (of course, behind every great man is a great woman, I believe). I literally teared up in my office.
I don’t know this woman (though I have, of course, heard of her as well as her husband) and yet she’s offering me a place for me and my kids to stay this summer just because I mentioned in passing that Astoria was a beautiful town. Not only that but she’s willing to offer it for free???
I honestly do not know what to say. I was already planning a trip to Oregon this summer with the kids and was contemplating how I could get to the coast, how I could afford to stay for a few days in a hotel, how I could get some extra work to pay for this trip. Now these worries are erased.
Due to the esteemed professor and esteemed wife, I can take my kids for a few days to Astoria!
I am so thankful that there are people like esteemed professor and esteemed wife in this world.
I am so incredibly thankful and honored for this invitation.
I felt really special all day and my mood immediately lifted.
I felt honored.
I felt like I have to pay it forward now too. No that’s not right. I WANT to pay it forward in some way so someone else can feel as good as I did today.
I want to hug and kiss and adopt esteemed professor and esteemed wife.
I’m seriously crying. I can’t believe the kindness I just received.
I feel really, really, really blessed.
This is what my heart feels like right now: