Tonight I had an unexpected blessing, a lesson that was fifteen years in the making. I need to preface this with the how easily I could have missed it. This has been a full plate week, my normal crazy as the life of a first grade teacher, who tries to run a household and work on my second career as a writer, a bit of NaNo(National Write a novel month) pressure, this month has only one week left in it and I am painfully aware I most likely will be two or three chapters short of my goal. But things went way past my normal crazy, we had family math night, which I love doing but after a day of teaching followed by several hours of tutoring, left me no time to go home beforehand making my day in my school building fourteen hours on Tuesday (I wrote all of two sentences on Tuesday night). Then on Wednesday we went on an outdoor field trip in record breaking cold courtesy of the polar vortex (did that exist in our childhood, I don’t remember it) and that was followed by two hours of professional development and then dinner out with friends to celebrate a 50th birthday (enjoyed every minute!). Thursday we had class pictures and a school wide special event of a parade of nations (all of us in costumes) to light the cauldron to kick off field day games that would commence today, Friday. That was followed by my once a month Bunco group (again I enjoyed every minute). Friday rolled in and I stopped at Starbucks to fortify myself, it was field day and Spirit day (did I mention this week was also our annual Clemson Carolina food drive, culminating in spirit day, we do allow students to wear other sports teams, this irks me a bit, after all if you become a resident of South Carolina, you should pick a side and honor local tradition, but I digress). At 3:30 p.m. I had my car packed with my Thanksgiving break homework, and in my orange tiger paw shirt headed out to the last thing on the schedule, a reunion of sorts. I was tired and I was tempted to skip it. After all the people I was going to see were people I worked with my first seven years of teaching and I had not worked with them for the past 15 years. But this was not just a random gathering of some old acquaintances, one of our circle is going through a difficult time with a husband suffering from a debilitating and fatal disease, this has brought some financial struggles for them and their girls, we had been asked to bring gift cards for groceries, gas and other such things, how could I not go. So I crossed multiple bridges and made my way there. Some of the women I saw I have seen randomly over the past fifteen years, some not at all. Immediately my fatigue melted away and was replaced with warmth and love for these women, many who mentored me as a green teacher. I was touched at the outpouring of support for our former coworker. I enjoyed our fellowship over food and sharing memories from the years we were part of each other’s lives. Before we parted we took a group photo and also held hands in a circle and prayed. On the drive home I reflected on this group of diverse and remarkable women and I realized this is why I like to write southern women characters. When I arrived home well after sunset I turned on a light and my eyes fell on the glass bluebird that you see in the photo with this post. This is the bluebird of happiness, presented to me when I left that first school, one was presented to each of us when we left, with the promise of a forever friendship with those we were parting from. Aah . . . grasshopper . . . now I understand!