NOVEMBER 4, 2022: “My Diamond Encrusted Tiaras” …

I’ve long said that I’m an actual queen, because I truly am. But if history has taught me anything, it’s that a queen is only as powerful as the legacy she leaves, not the tiara that adorns her head. My children are my tiara, regardless of whether you can see it. Likewise, are they every “FL colorless” diamond that encrusts it. They’re the echo of my voice that will surely linger on as my utmost contribution to this world.

Take for instance this email I got today amidst an actual storm that was brewing in the atmosphere about something Gia had written to recognize and nominate one of her favorite teachers for an “Honored” teaching award:

Mike Rock is a counselor for students with learning disabilities or other struggles in their studies. For example, I have ADHD, and I get this class to get extra support with my schoolwork. Since the very beginning, Mr. Rock has gone above and beyond to help students in his class. Every class, he stands outside his door and greets each student personally, and asks how their day has been going, and tells them how happy he is that they are doing well, or that they are there that day. And always with a bright smile and kind voice, too. He is beyond patient, always remaining calm and kind even through the multitude of meltdowns and anger-outbursts that students have thrown at him because of their frustrations. He is deeply concerned with the wellbeing of his students. He remembers things that they say, be it a concert they are excited to go to, or that they have a loved one struggling. He doesn’t just stop at helping his students with their schoolwork. He is a teacher as much as he is a trusted friend. He talks with us about struggles we have and shows interest in the things we enjoy. One particular action stands out. On Friday, November 4th, there was a threat for severe weather in our area. School let out early, and as I was walking to leave the building, I caught Mr. Rock. He greeted me with a warm “Hello Gia!” (My nickname) and a smile. We were making small talk as we left, and I was talking about how my dad was picking me up, since I didn’t drive to school because my dad didn’t want me driving in the heavy rain. I complained about how despite my dad telling me that morning to bring an umbrella, I didn’t, and it was raining in sheets. As I was about to go out into the rain, he pulls out his umbrella and tells me he is going to walk me out to my dad. The umbrella is only big enough for one person, so I refused, saying “thank you so much! But you don’t have to do that. He is parked kind of far away!”. He insisted, so I let him (I really didn’t want to get soaked in the rain anyway. It was cold and windy. The entire way to my dad’s car, he held the umbrella over me while he got rained on. Out of his way, and in the pouring rain, he still made sure I got to my dad’s car safe and dry. When I got to the car, Mr. Rock told me to be safe, and I told him the same. My dad drove off. Mr. Rock’s car was in the opposite direction that I needed to go. This isn’t the only time that Mr. Rock has gone out of his way to be kind and considerate. He regularly supplies his classroom with students’ favorite candies, mints, and even fidget toys. All on his own, and without being asked. One time, he was gifted a box of expensive chocolate from the Ukraine from a friend. He took the box of chocolate and shared it with us. (It is a very small class. There’s only about 10 students). Teachers like Mr. Rock are few and far between. He brightens our days and is someone we can always count on to have a kind word to say, or just a positive, friendly attitude. He is truly an amazing teacher (He has single handedly raised student’s grades with his tutoring, support, and encouragement), and an admirable and good person. I know he deserves to be recognized.

My Mona Lisa couldn’t stop making me smile if she tried! She’s lifting others with her “beautiful infection”, and like her brother, never ceases to amaze me. If only you knew what she’s really been through, you, too, would fail to understand why she’s not a jaded teenager just looking for an excuse to become a toxic adult. She makes me proud every day, and it’s moments like these that are why.

There is no lie in her words about “Mr. Rock”. If only I could properly credit not just him, but the many other teachers and mentors that have supported and led her through the proverbial storm she’s been walking through since losing her dad and having to go through high school without him. Each one is a beacon of hope and a restoration of faith in humanity to not just her, but this widowed, single mom, as well. I literally cried my eyes out at the thought of this man walking my kid to the car with his umbrella over her head while he was getting soaked.

Gia, my princess, when the time finally comes for you to start reading this Diary, know that you truly are everything I hope to be when I grow up. No, you’re not perfect … you’re just a flesh and blood mortal like the rest of us. Besides, “perfection” would be boring, anyway. Still, sometimes I wonder if you really are from another planet, because the last time I checked, there seems to be a shortage of kids like you running around on this one. Lol, and you think that I’m the real Wonder Woman? That’s funny, because I actually think it’s you!

If, as we both suspect, Dad really is watching all of this as you live out this dream he had for your life, surely he was beaming with pride today, too, as you “lit a fire” with your impeccable words. Please listen to this song again, because it was the first thing that came to my mind after I got the email from your school today. I love you, “Three”! ~ Mama

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