By Susan Dromey Heeter, Joyful Musings
This week I muse joyfully on the new. I began a new job and just as students traveled to new classrooms, new schools, wearing new shoes and carrying new back packs, I fell in line with that kindergartner who got lost on his way to the bathroom, who wondered what his teacher’s name was, who wondered, in fact, where exactly he was.
I muse joyfully on newness this week, on new keys, new passwords, new friends. We are, after all, in New England, a place that when I was a new teacher at a school with British colleagues, I referred to my home as New and Improved England. I still giggle at that, my new friends laughed and I think back to meeting these new friends, friends who now are as comfortable as old shoes, as worn in as my the numbers on my debit card.
But initially, that newness is hard. I’ve got a daughter in California navigating the newness of the west coast, nieces in first years at universities, navigating roommates and course loads and as I watch freshmen carrying their schedules, struggling to figure out lunch seats and new friends, I relate so very well. I am a freshman at 55 and it’s both glorious and exhausting. I ask the most important questions, “Where can I get lunch? Where is the bathroom? What is your name?” And, mercifully, I am met with kindness, with patience, with care.
And I am reminded of the beauty of kind. Of simple, especially when so much is new. There was a moment this week when I traveled back in time to a moment when I had a student give me a birthday card. It was 1990 and my very first birthday spent out of the country, away from family. I was teaching at a school in Holland, digesting the newness of Dutch language, Dutch culture, Dutch food, exhausted and thrilled at my fresh new world; Denise wrote in the card, “I know how hard it is to be somewhere new – Happy Birthday.”
That simple card, that simple sentiment has stayed with me almost thirty years later. I remember the new but, more importantly, I remember the kind.
And may you muse joyfully on whatever is new in your world, new day, a new month, a new jar of peanut butter. And may you remember the kind of a gesture, a question answered, a birthday card to someone new. Enjoy Joyful Musers…and while the newness will fade, the kindness never does.
Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, debuts her new column “Joyful Musings” at InDepthNH.org. Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Spaulding High School in Rochester and the mother of two teenage daughters. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.