Monday was an amazingly productive day for me. Up early to pick beans before the heat; fed and watered the chickens, then watered flowers and trees in the yard; weeded flower beds; cleaned the chicken house; laundry, laundry, laundry....And all of that before lunchtime. Wow!
The afternoon and evening were busy, too. Washing all the sweat and grime down the shower drain that night, I thought, "Okay, Tuesday's over. Tomorrow is Wednesday. What's on the To-Do list for tomorrow? Appointment with the eye doctor, piano lessons, church..." It was only later, as I crawled into bed that I caught my mistake. "Today is not Tuesday - it's Monday! Tomorrow is Tuesday!"
Whew! Glad I caught that in time to reset my internal calendar!
After a good night's sleep, I got up the next morning confident that the new day was Thursday...and it wasn't until yesterday evening, after a brief flash of panic over not having gotten the trash bin to the curb, that one of the kids clued me in.
Okay, so yesterday was Tuesday. Today is Wednesday, and I've already been to see Dr. Bugg, and tomorrow is trash pick-up day. Maybe I've got it straight now.
Being Almost 50 is such an adventure!
When I was in fourth grade, I was in love with my fabulous home-room teacher, Mrs. L. C. Nichols. She was the sun around which my little brain planet orbited. Our class was taking a spelling class once which included the names of the days of the week. Mrs. Nichols wrote in giant letters on the chalkboard: W-e-d-n-e-s-d-a-y. "Class, when I call out the word 'Wednesday' for your test, every one of you will want to spell it incorrectly. Do not do that! Look up here at the board and copy the word exactly as I have written it." She continued, "You do not need to practice spelling this word incorrectly even one more time. Write it correctly. W-e-d-n-e-s-d-a-y. And in the future, if you are not perfectly confident how to spell 'Wednesday,' ask me and I will tell you how to spell it correctly." She looked at us over her black, cat-eye glasses. "Do you understand? Do not EVER let me catch you spelling the word 'Wednesday' incorrectly again. You have no excuse!"
Now, in my little mind, looking at the chalkboard during a spelling test felt awfully lot like cheating. After all, as a student, wasn't I responsible for studying the words and memorizing their correct spellings? Was my beloved teacher asking me to compromise my integrity? Maybe this was a different kind of test, something more than just a spelling test. When Mrs. Nichols called out "Wednesday," I closed my eyes and swallowed hard. I wanted so badly to look at the board, just to check, to make sure I had it right. But even more, I wanted to pass the integrity test.
You can guess what happened. Little Miss A+ Overachiever was the only student who misspelled "Wednesday" that day. When Mrs. Nichols handed back our graded papers, she paused at my desk. "Camille, I need to see you after class."
Mrs. Nichols listened calmly as I explained my inner dilemma and the reason for misspelling the word she had explicitly told us to copy from the board. I felt like such a failure. Placing her hands on my shoulders, Mrs. Nichols stared at me ever her glasses. "Now, Camille, please spell the word 'Wednesday' for me. Correctly, this time."
"Capital W, e, d, n, e, s, d, a, y."
"Will you ever spell 'Wednesday' incorrectly again?" She raised her eyebrows.
"No, ma'am." Nope. No way. Not ever, at least not intentionally. No, because I loved Mrs. Nichols, and because I wanted more than anything in the world to please her, and because my gross disobedience and embarrassing mistake had worked to stamp "W-e-d-n-e-s-d-a-y" indelibly in my brain.
All this to say - funny how sometimes it's when we get something WRONG that we learn most assuredly what is RIGHT. Our mistakes teach us in powerful ways, ways that our competencies can't even begin to instruct us.
The last day of school that year, Mom and I went to Mrs. Nichols room to pick up my report card. "I have some sad news," Mrs. Nichols reported. "I won't be teaching fourth grade next year."
"Oh," I whispered. I couldn't imagine walking the halls of the elementary school next year without the sunshine of seeing her beautiful face. This was sad news indeed.
"But I have some good news, too. I have asked to be moved to the fifth grade," Mrs. Nichols smiled, "and I will be your home-room teacher next year!"
I bounced right up into her arms, laughing and smiling. I couldn't wait for fifth grade - I just knew it was going to be an awesome year!
1 month ago