September always makes me think back to my school days. I was always excited to get back to school and see my friends. I was not a ‘top of the class’ type of student. I was a B minus kind of girl, but going to school has always been enjoyable to me.
I went to a very small school. I graduated with 48 people. The memories and relationships have stayed strong over the years, and I know no matter what happens in life, I can always go back ‘home.’
I learned so much from the early years, and I am not talking about books. I am talking about learning how to deal with all kinds of relationships. We all experienced bullying in some form or fashion. We all probably bullied someone and did not realize the hurt we were inflicting at the time.
I am of Polish decent. And yes, I was made fun of. I am sure some of you even know those jokes. But, it was okay, because I know who I am and I am very proud of my parents and my grandparents. All of my family was very hard-working and did their best in life like everyone else.
The personal struggle and sacrifice my great grandparents had to endure to save their children was so hard to believe. If I asked my grandparents about their parents, they would just cry.
I also was made fun of because I had a ‘ski’ type of nose. And yes, it was an ancestral nose. I actually fell one time and broke my nose when my parents made me stop my bike as cars went by on the road. My cousin behind me did not realize I was going to stop and caused me to fall on the road and break my nose.
The most embarrassing thing ever was going home and having my father tape up my nose. I had to go to school the next day with a round ‘Rudolph’ looking nose. Of course you can imagine the kids laughing and making fun of me!
I needed compassion, empathy, and love. Instead, I was ridiculed. Who could blame the kids who were hurting my feelings? I probably would have done the same thing at that young age.
I remember one time in my early days of Catholic school, a good friend of mine had a very extreme case of poison ivy. She was outside crying, and I asked my teacher if I could go outside and be with her. The nun allowed me to be with her, and the only thing I had to offer was being with her as she cried from the pain of her sores.
I learned what compassion, empathy, and love could do to make someone’s pain bearable by simply not being alone. In some small way, I hope she never forgot that day and how I really wanted to help her. I just cried with her.
The hard knocks and lessons from all of my formative years have built who I have become today. As a matter of fact, people have commented I am too nice. I really do not understand how you can be too nice, but I guess I still have some work to do.
However, I strongly believe you can be loving and caring and still set boundaries, so you are not taken advantage of; which yes, has happened to me. The learning will continue until I am gone from this earth, and then who knows what is in front of me ‘up there.’