The Only Teacher

Isabella - Amarillo, Texas
Entered on November 5, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family

The only teacher a girl ever really needs is her mother. From leading the way with our first footsteps, to gripping the seat belt as we take our first drive, she is our teacher of life.

Growing up we idolize our mothers. Standing in the doorway of a closet, our tiny hands mimic hers; attempting to paint the courage she carries on her lips. Sliding into her size 8 heels, we practice standing with her grace. But most importantly, she exemplifies the confidence needed to dance like no one is watching in front of the bedroom window.

In the kitchen, she becomes Betty Crocker, in jeans of course. Her knowledgeable hands hold ours as we cut our first cookie. She reminds us to only lick the spoon, because, “The bowl stains your face.” She repeats the simple instructions, over and over, until we too don’t need a cook book. Then, without even noticing, we learn not just a recipe, but a tradition.

As we begin to obtain our own lives, she teaches us balance. Her past experiences help balance our school time vs. family time. She sets curfews, to get us prepared to set our own. And as high school comes to an end, we suddenly realize how much we do things on our own, without being told.

Finally the day comes when we pack up to move away from home. Our teacher stands in the doorway imagining her once helpless and innocent child. But as we have aged, so has she. The once shiny princess hair is now brittle, her soft hands that rocked you to bed are now rough from years of work, and her envious beauty is now showing more in her teenage daughter than her own face, yet she remains wiser than we could ever dream.

Our mother is our teacher. She didn’t teach us the history found in books, but the history of family tradition. Her lectures didn’t repeat the rules of grammar, but the rules of respect and courtesy. Her calculator refused to balance equations, but balanced precious time instead. But ever most important, her hands replaced discipline with the love and faith to succeed in this world without her.