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Being Schooled

Daisy’s teacher conference created some apprehension for me. I could not imagine that anyone could judge my little angel as anything but spectacular. Yes, she sometimes fought with her brother, but I always counted that as part of her education in diplomacy. Getting along with an occasional enemy hones negotiation skills.

Daisy had described her teacher, Miss Ritchie, as a beautiful lady. Every time I stopped off at school, I was unable to catch Miss Ritchie to check her out. Every night at supper I asked the children to tell me something good about their day and something that could have gone better. Junior usually grunted something about recess and the boys he tormented the girls with. I never could tell if that was the good thing or the choice that required improvement. Daisy always started out with describing how beautiful Miss Ritchie was and then told some wonderful thing that she said or did to make the day sunnier for everyone. Special little cards at each desk with the name and picture of each student, handmade paper flowers for the girls and boutonnieres for the boys, more interesting picture books than at home and multi-colored pencils for those who practiced their handwriting. One afternoon when Daisy fell and scraped her knee, Miss Ritchie consoled her with a hug and a bandage featuring a little daisy drawn on it. I could fell myself getting jealous of Daisy’s infatuation with Miss Ritchie and wasn’t upset when I pulled the bandage off in Daisy’s bath that night. Bad mommy.

When the evening arrived for the conference, I walked hand in hand with Steve down the long corridor toward room 212. I peeked inside of the room and saw an older woman speaking with some parents. I told Steve that we must have the wrong room but he saw Miss Ritchie’s name next to the door. We cautiously entered and I saw the parents of some children that I recognized also waiting. I saw some artwork displayed on a desk next to hand-drawn picture of Daisy. The little girl had a headband of tiny daisies. My heart sank a little. I had never thought of buying a hairband with daisies. Bad mommy.

When I looked up, I saw the older woman across from me. She asked if I was Daisy’s mother and she introduced herself as Miss Ritchie. She must be a very experienced teacher judging by her age but her green eyes were beautiful. Miss Ritchie told me how much she enjoyed having Daisy in class and everyday when Daisy arrived Daisy told her about some special thing her beautiful mother had done for her. She talked about reading a special book many times, the song her mother sang to her when she brushed her hair or the special treats waiting for her after school. Miss Ritchie leaned toward me and told me that she thought she would be a little intimidated meeting me since I already acted as Daisy’s first teacher. I chuckled a little and may have blushed.

I thanked her for the care she showed Daisy and looked forward to hearing more from Daisy about the ways Miss Ritchie made school comfortable yet challenging for her. Daisy would always be my baby and I would forever be her first teacher. I just needed to learn how to share her.

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