But Green business is not why I felt compelled to post something here today, nor any brand of politics. On this, her birthday, I wanted to enshrine some Facebook tributes to Kayleen/Gisele/Gizzy here rather than just consigning them to the disposability of the FB news cycle.
Several of Kayleen's thirty-odd kids are sending her text messages & posting heartfelt, tear-smeared tributes on FB today. I have known her for about four and a half years; they have known her longer, for up to 15 years.
When we first decided to be a couple, I told Kayleen that her kids come first, that I would try never to begrudge her time spent with them. I'd like to think that I've stuck to that. They may be grown, graduated, bringing up their own biological children, but when they need her, she is there.
There's this peculiar Latin phrase, in loco parentis, that legally describes the role that schools play in our culture. Technically, it means that administrators have parental authority and responsibility for students who have not yet reached adulthood. And yet, our society has a weird problem with teachers and administrators actually parenting their students: giving them guidance & fostering their growth, beyond mere academics, from a place of love.
When teaching high school freshmen, Kayleen took in loco parentis to that advanced level & subsequently suffered for it. Now that she is back in the classroom and teaching eighth-graders, and she has re-calibrated her style to avoid "adopting" any more kids. But I'm confident that even her most difficult students will realize, sooner or later, how blessed they were to be in her classes.
Sure, I could write about all the laughs she has brought me, the cool stuff she has taught me, the baked goods, the sacrifices, the adoring smiles, her letting me live as my best & truest self, or even the moments when we wonder aloud how & why we're still together. Sure, Kayleen has been good for me, and vice versa (or so she tells me). But I'm just one person. What she has done for her kids, and the many ways they have shown their appreciation, are what makes her special, the main reason I love her.
Though out of the profession almost a quarter-century now, I tend to collect teachers as friends. They do the work that I admire most. Kayleen is the teacher I wish I could have been.
Never have I ever met a soul so pure and genuine. Never have I ever seen anyone (much less an adult, or a teacher) love me so instantaneously. Never have I ever had such a strong bond with someone who isn't family.... Until I met her. I was "troubled" teenager with baggage to boot but she was never afraid to listen. I often felt alone or at times just defeated from a long or tough day but she always welcomed me with open arms (and THE Cookies). She never judged, she never laughed; she just accepted and offered help or advice when need be. Soon she had a small army of kids who she mothered and adored. I am so thankful for those kids. Through the years I have seen so many brothers and sisters come and go; I've come and gone a few times too. But at the end of the day, when we're done being brats, Mom is there waiting, with never-failing open arms. This amazing woman has medically, physically surpassed so many odds and obstacles. She will (quite literally) bend over backwards to do anything for us kids or for her grandbabies. If there was anyone in the world who was meant to be a mother/grandmother its definitely her. Mom, mummy, ma, Grandma Katy... from my babies and I, on behalf of all my siblings and neices and nephews... THANK YOU for another amazing year of love, support, friendship, grandparentship (Lol!), and here's to praying you continue to defy the odds to see all these grandbabies graduate and marry just as you have all of us.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!
Thank you from the very bottom of my heart for everything you have done for me and the kids. I am forever grateful and thankful for you. I am blessed beyond words that God stuck me in your class my freshman year. Your love has helped to shape me into the woman and mother I am now and I am so proud to have you in our lives! Have a wonderful day and weekend lovely lady you truly deserve the best! Enjoy your sushi with Dave this evening, the kids and I will see you soon! Love you!!
Happy birthday to the most amazing teacher, mother and grandmother. You've had long bad years but you've always tried to keep positive and push through. You survived through so much and managed to watch your grand babies grow. I remember you telling me you wasn't suppose to be alive the day Melo was born but here you are in her life and became a major inspiration to her. Though we are not biologically your kids know you've made a MAJOR impact to my siblings and their kids and I think its safe to say we all thank you with our whole heart for all you've done. Here's to you, hoping you stay with us longer to see them grow into adults!
.-. Kinda just winged and said what came to mind but nonetheless I LOVE YOU MUMMY! Actually, WE LOVE YOU!! ALSO MAJOR SHOUT OUT TO David B. Collins for loving and caring for our mummy through thick and thin even though sometimes I know she can be a bit much 😂😂, Thank you! We'll see you Sunday!