Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Do you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?

I was a little girl who rode the waves of an ocean, drifting, not knowing where I'd end up, but not fighting where the currents took me. I washed ashore here, there. I weathered storms and bathed in calm. And in order to survive, I placed my trust in the palms of grownups all around me.

Some of those palms took my confidence and forgot they even had it. Some were not able to do much with it. But some took it and nurtured that trust. I learned how to be more selective later in life, but I never withheld the pleasure of sharing a little of me with the people that came into my life.

I was a crazy child who put a staple in her thumb because I wondered how it would feel to have a thin, sharp piece of metal pierce my skin. As the blood came gushing out, I was stunned by the searing pain and learned that a staple does not belong in the flesh. I played inside a clothe dryer often because it was strangely comforting; I felt like I was being cradled inside the dark, confining rotating drum with a slow, pendulum-like swing.

Then I went to school. There, I learned about the world in a safer manner (without bleeding, the risk of electrical shock, or perpetuating an emotional deficit), and consistency became my new cradle. I could count on seeing my teacher's smile everyday. I could engage with my peers. I looked forward to the challenges of grades and competition.

I loved and respected my teachers, and I was always eager to please them. And the first time I ever wanted to be something ("when I grow up") was in my kindergarten classroom, as I watched my teacher gesture, teach, and lead the children with ease and poise. I thought, One day, that's what I will do, too.

As I grew older, the World told me to be many different things. A journalist, one voice said. A doctor, another whispered. It's a respectable profession and you'd make a good living. The World told me to go to school and get degrees; get married and have children; buy a house and have a job. I did all of these things, and this is what I found out:

I learned that I wasn't cut out for medical school, but being a pediatrician wasn't the only way to work with children. I learned that I have much love for the humanities--a philosophy that brings people together through culture and the arts. I learned that children are kindred spirits and that working with them would teach me how to be a better person and parent. I learned that having my own children solidified how I feel about each and every child being a precious miracle, and that parenting and teaching unquestionably go hand in hand.

I remember who I was before the World told me what to be. I was a girl searching for anchors, and I found them in my teachers, who always provided a safe physical and emotional space for me to grow and reach. They were the grownups that--even in the short span of nine months at a time--treasured me and fulfilled my needs. I was a girl that wanted to parent the way she wasn't parented. I wanted to be a mother and have children of my own to love absolutely and unconditionally; to raise to be kind human beings; and to hopefully send out into the world to be their own.

Now, I  open my palm to children and take their Gifts in confidence.

Now, it's not  "who I want to be."

Now, I am.


  1. I love, LOVE how you write.
    This was beautiful.

    1. Thank you so much, Kari! That means so much to me. I love how YOU write--you make me HAPPY, and I need that. A LOT. <3

  2. That was beautiful, agreed, Kari! Not everyone knows what they want to be so clearly, so early. Though, looking back, I was definitely made to be an engineer.

    1. Awww, thank you, Lisa! It's amazing that I still remember the very moment I wanted to be a teacher when I was 5 years old. I took a long, roundabout way to get there, but I'm here! And you knew what suited you best, too. It sure does feel good to get it right, no? :)

  3. This was a really beautiful post, Sandra. And, I agree with what Lisa said - I definitely didn't know what I wanted to be so young in life. Some might argue I still don't know what I want to be. =)

    1. Thank you, Nilsa! Maybe I lucked out and had really great teachers. They all made a difference for me. But there are still lots of things out there I may never be, but would like to try. I've never waited tables before... Or worked in a culinary setting... ;)

  4. This is such a lovely post. I'd love for my kids to have a teacher like you! It's amazing to me that you knew so early that a teacher was who you should be, and your exploring just served to make that even clearer.

    I still don't know what I'll be when I grow up :)

    1. Thanks so much, Janna! I wish I had a picture of my kindergarten teacher, but I think my memory of her is still pretty accurate. How I'd love to tell her now what she did for me! As for your last statement--Peter Pan would say: Don't ever grow up! :)

  5. Ah, I like your writing.
    Having said that, let me just say that I think one of the best parts of being older is that one is no longer preoccupied with chasing the person who he/she wants to be. In middle age, one has most likely overcome his/her angst and just enjoys being. :-)

    Cheers to people of our age, to us! :-) (just ignore the few years difference between us ;-)

  6. Hi dear Sandra
    i am Hossein from Iran
    i have just surfing in net about childhoods memory and i got your blog by accident :) and I try to read so i found nice and perfect writing
    i will be follow your writng
    all the best