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The Tiny Giant


Daily Prompt: Mentor Me

Daily Prompt: Mentor Me

Have you ever had a mentor? What was the greatest lesson you learned from him or her?

Although 4’11”, she is a giant.

Her fingers, gnarled with arthritis command our attention – directing us to sound as one.

Her red pixie-cut bobs in time to the music, a slight tremor beyond her control.

Her sharp, elfin ears can pick out the one voice out of sixty that has wandered astray.

Anything short of perfection is unacceptable – our pure devotion to her drives us to achieve it.  We would rather die than disappoint her.

“Reach for the blue flower,” she commands.  We can almost touch the mythical bloom.

She never married, having lost her fiance at Pearl Harbor.  She is instead married to her choir – the generations of students her children.

Her belief in my ability never wavered.

I was to be the one who “made it.”

I was to be the one who one day stood on a stage, holding an award, thanking her.

Yet, I never even tried.

So, the awards never came.

But every year, when I sing the Hallelujah Chorus with my church choir – FROM MEMORY – I always close my eyes, bow my head, and whisper…

“Thank you, Miss Carpenter.”

And I know she has heard every note.

A Little Thanks Giving


This year, I had my students come up with 5 things they were thankful for being in their lives.  The catch was – they could not be the “typical” things that everyone else would have.  I wanted them to think about the little things.  Then they had to give the reason WHY they were thankful for it.  It was surprisingly hard for them.  They all wanted to put family and friends, etc – and even then they had a hard time telling me WHY they were thankful.  I tried to do one as a sample for them – and well, it WAS hard.

So, in an attempt at fairness and never asking my students to do something I wouldn’t do, here are my “thankful fors” – some traditional, some unusual, but all from my heart.

  • I am thankful for music, because it completes my soul and without it, I do not think I could live.
  • I am thankful for ocean and the beach, because when my world seems all jumbled and too much to handle, they make me feel small and humble and ground me.
  • I am thankful for my creativity in all it’s forms of expression (singing, writing, jewelry making, etc.), because it gives my hands something to do and keeps my brain from exploding.
  • I am thankful for ‘Tator Tots (good fried ones, not stupid ol’ mushy baked ones), because they make my mouth happy.
  • I am thankful for BOOKS, for the crack of the spine and the smell of the pages and the weight in my hands and because they can help me escape my little life for awhile.
  • I am thankful for Facebook, because through it I have reconnected with people from all phases in my life and well, who needs to pay for a therapist when you’ve got all that free advise?!?
  • I am thankful for yellow flowers, because even on a cloudy day, they are like a little bit of sunshine here on Earth.
  • I am thankful for high heels, because they make me feel tall and sexy and mmmmm…
  • I am thankful for my former students, because when my current class is making me wonder why I should bother with continuing to teach, they remind me of the impact I made on their lives.  And even if I eventually do decide to move on to something else, the years I taught were worth it.
  • I am thankful for my ex-husband, The Father Monkey, because even though we are divorced, he has remained one of my dearest friends, and because he can still make me LAUGH.
  • I am thankful for my mother, Nonna Monkey, because while she makes me CRAZY, I could not manage my schedule without her.
  • I am thankful for my former relationship, because he reminded me how to truly love again.
  • I am thankful for Monkey #1, for his wit and intelligence and curiosity – and yes, even for his Asperger’s…
  • I am thankful for Monkey #2, because he is my little Huggy Monster and I am glad that at 10 and a half, he still wants to hug his Mommy IN FRONT OF HIS FRIENDS (I know that won’t last for much longer).
  • I am thankful for Monkey #3 – The Girl Child – for her vitality and joy for life.  She has two speeds, full on and asleep.  I wish I could embrace life like she does.

And now that I think about it, I am just THANKFUL.  It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and the negatives.  It becomes hard to see the forest for the trees.  But, as I look at things, as I look at my life, there is so much more than the bad.  So, why sully the good by focusing on the bad?

Maybe instead of only giving thanks on Thanksgiving, we should do it more frequently.  It just might give everything else a little more perspective.

It’s worth a try!