Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Leaving A Footprint

Have you ever took a moment to think about what type of legacy you'll leave behind once your time on earth is finished?

For some reason, it's what I'm thinking about this morning.  Don't know why.  Just another of those random thoughts that pops in to my head....and then causes me to start writing about it.

I can't help it.  I write about random crap - a lot.

I can't even say it's the first time I've thought about's something that's popped in to my head at some point or another many, many times over the years.

I'll admit it - death scares the bejeezus out of me. 

Ever since becoming a parent, I've found myself to be terrified of so many things that causes me to think about death... heights, flying, going on those creaky fair rides, riding in a car without a seat belt.  I'm terrified of all of them - and more.

I don't think it's the actual dying part that scares me - no, it's the fear of leaving behind children that aren't grown.  I need to be a mother to my children until they no longer need me...which is stupid, because I'm convinced that my kids will always need me.  I'm almost 30, and I still need my mom.

OK, so I don't want to talk about death....that's not what today is about - really.

It's about what I'm doing right now that will be remembered after I'm gone. 

I don't know why - maybe my huge ego, the fact that I'm an attention whore, or because behind both of those fronts, I'm an actual caring person and want to have an impact on the world.  It's important for me to be remembered after I'm gone.... Many, many, many years from now.

I'm not talking about world wide fame or anything like that.... I just want to know that after I've left the earth - there are people for years after that says "Do you remember that one lady?"... and that lady be me.

I think it's why I'm in the profession that I am.  Every day, I start my day thinking "How can I impact these children today?"  It's not just teaching them how to read or write or figure out how many apples are in a basket.  At the end of the day, that's all pretty simple (sometimes).

No, it's about reaching the child that hates to read and showing them how wonderful reading can be.  It's helping the child who just can't think of what to write about and sits staring at the wall every day put a pencil to paper with ease.  It's helping the child who throws tantrums every time there's a math word problem, and then watching the light bulb go off in her head after I've connected the problem to her life - and made it meaningful for her to understand.  It's reaching the child that feels like everyone hates them, and helping them make connections to other kids that feel the same way.  It's showing the child that thinks no one cares that there's one person that will never give up on him - no matter how hard he pushes me away. 

Being a teacher, in my mind, isn't just about teaching a child reading, writing, and arithmetic - it's about teaching them the value of their education, the value of themselves as individuals, and giving them the foundation to reach their goals and succeed in life.

To this day, twenty five years later, I still remember my kindergarten teacher.  She was the first reason I wanted to become a teacher.  She was kind and caring - and even at a mere 5 years old, I declared "I want to be like Ms. Oliver when I grow up."  Twenty five years later!!  I can't even remember stuff that happened last month, yet that woman had such an impact on my life that I remember her face, her accent, even her smell after all this time.

Being that teacher to my students is so important to me. 

I want to attend high school and college graduations and see my students standing on that podium giving their valedictorian speeches and say "In 3rd grade, I had this teacher that taught me the value of my education, and to never give up on my dreams" and know without a shadow of a doubt that I'm the teacher they're referring to.

I want to receive letters (if there's still a post office years from now), emails, or Facebook messages that say "Just wanted to let you know that because you didn't give up on me, I have been able to accomplish so much in my life, and now I'm a....."

Knowing that what I'm doing for these kids right now, despite how young they are, will impact them for the rest of their lives.  That's important to me.  It's the whole reason I do what I do - and have wanted to do it for so long.

So, after this big long, heartfelt explanation - I bring myself back to what this blog is really about:  Weight loss.

If all of these things are so important to me - and I have such a fear of dying too soon.....why on earth do I continue to slowly kill myself with junk food?

Bet you didn't see that coming, did you?

It's true, though.  I want to be around for my kids until they are grown and I'm a great grandmother.  I want to be around to watch my students graduate from high school and college and then go on to pursue their dreams.

How will I do that if I die from a heart attack or a weight related illness?

As I huffed and puffed and squeezed myself into my jeans this morning - jeans that fit perfectly a couple of months ago - all of this smacked me in the face.

I'm killing myself.

It brought me to tears, and then started this whole thought process that I just shared with you.

As I struggled to button my jeans, I felt distraught.  I started to panic.  I started to think about all of the kids that are counting on me - and don't even know it yet.  It's not just about the kids I'm helping right now - but all of the kids I will help in the future. 

I have to be here for them.  I want to be here for them.  First, and foremost, for my biological children....and then all of the other children I will have the opportunity to work with.  They are counting on me - and some don't even realize it yet.

So, today, I introduce myself to a new kind of motivation.....the footprint that I can and will leave behind.

Do I want to be remembered as the mother that raised caring, nurturing, smart children?  Absolutely!!
Do I want to be remembered as the teacher that kids adored, respected, and remember for years after?  Of course!!
Do I want to be remembered as the woman that kept trying to lose weight, but instead stuffed her face with junk food - and ended up dying at such a young age, just because she wouldn't follow through on one of her own dreams?  What was her name again?   - WORST NIGHTMARE EVER!!

I have the power to make any of those choices come true. 

Right now, right this second....the choice is mine.

Time to start walking - and leaving the footprints.  Footprints of power, strength, dedication.  Footprints that will be remembered - in a good way.  My legacy begins right now.  Again.

Till next time. ;)
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