The dog is running at me at a speed that makes it clear of his intention. He stops just short of me and starts barking a loud menacing bark. As I put my foot out and start yelling in an unconvincing manner to keep him from coming any closer, I get tangled in my floor length skirt. I step down to regain my balance. My skirt joins my foot and comes down to my knees, revealing my bright yellow underwear. The dog’s owner witnesses this accidental striptease and gasps as she continues her pursuit to control her dog. Hearty Laughter takes over as I continue my walk home and realize the spazziness that just occurred.
Aoy is talking to me about one of the homework assignments. She gets stuck on a word and her jazz hands come out flailing as she digs deep into the crevices of her brain to retrieve the word she has lost. As I watch her, I can’t help but relate to this moment. She is enthusiastic and determined to express herself.
I am in the classroom. That hearty laugh has made an encore enactment. My students make me smile on a daily basis, but it is only on occasion that they prompt this robust delight. At this moment in the classroom I feel as though I am surrounded by family and friends.
I am brought back to my beautiful dining room, with a wall size portrait of my Aunt Fran, painted in deep reds and browns by my grandfather, hanging across from a beautiful dark stained wooden table that fits at least 12 people comfortably. My entire family is there and it is a blissful chaos as dishes are passed and loved ones update each other on events and stories. The scene is that of a family who love and respect and support and admire one another. There is not one person at this table engaged in any kind of technological activity. This is purely family time and we all have an understanding about that. These nights are magical. Even at 22 these dinners have not lost their charm and enchantment. They are a type of quirky perfection.
My students are still laughing at my red, crumpled face as I attempt to regain control of my spits of joy. As I am composed once again I look out into the desks, and cannot help but feel that same magic that presents itself at my dining room table. These passionate, spazzy, brilliant, charismatic, generous, wonderful students give me that same quirky, perfection.
They are optimism.