I’m writing this a few days before you graduate, and it’s very possible that I’m not yet far enough removed from your teacher training experience to know what it means yet. I haven’t fully processed the nine months we’ve spent together. The only thing I know for certain is I’m not ready to let you go just yet.
Going into this training, I was nervous. My first group of trainees was so incredibly special to me, and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to recreate that experience again. Like an anxious second-time parent, I wondered how I could love a second child as much as the first. Thankfully, I discovered the lesson every parent learns: Your heart is not responsible for producing more love the second time around; a child arrives with its own unique and endless mountain of love, and a parent’s heart only has to stretch to allow it in.
You, sisters, are my wild and willful second child. Full of energy, questions, and emotions. You challenged me as much as you made me laugh. With you, I had to be willing to set my carefully cultivated plans aside and be spontaneous. I had to learn to follow the rabbit trails of your curiosity to some great epiphany. I had to be vulnerable and unattached when you told me you didn’t totally love what I had planned and recognize that you probably had a point. I had to hold space for your feelings and honor the deep process you have gone through. You challenged me to be a better teacher. If my first group of trainees showed me how to do it, you taught me that I could do it both imperfectly and well, and that those two qualities are not mutually exclusive. And through it all, my heart had no problem stretching to allow in the deep love you brought.
I will remember you as a wild and gorgeous tornado of laughter and tears and deep authenticity. Even in your moments of anxiety, you are fearless. You came to me with a deep knowing inside already. My work has been merely to uncover the wisdom you already possess.
I have tried to teach you many things in the last nine months; with any luck, a handful of them will stick. I want to tell you one final thing, perhaps the most important lesson of all:
Your students will give you so much more than you can ever give to them. I’ve learned this over and over again, and as you go out into the world sharing your gifts, you’ll experience it, too. This truth is magnified 1000 fold when you teach people how to teach. Sisters, you have given me so much more than I could ever possibly give you. When I was devastatingly sick this year, you were a reason to get out of bed. When my heart was heavy and sad, you were a love that lifted me up. When I was imperfect and vulnerable, you reminded me that I was good enough just as I was.
When I tell you today that you are ready–that you are already teachers–I know this for certain because you have been my teachers. I will carry your lessons with me for as long as I live.
Life’s path is long and winding, and experiences like this give us a chance to walk next to each other holding hands for a little while. You have held mine with tender strength this year, and I hope that you have felt mine in yours, as well. As this phase of the journey ends, our paths might diverge a little, moving onward less closely, but always within shouting distance. If any one is in need, others will arrive to help carry burdens or lift us over that next boulder. Or perhaps to just shout encouragement from afar.
I could tell you thank you every day for the next nine months and it still wouldn’t be enough to convey my gratitude that you chose me to guide you through this part of the journey. I’m so excited to see where you go next and to continue learning from you as you share your wisdom with the world. Please know that I’m always here if you need me to hold your hand for a little while again, or just to remind you that you’re stronger than you think you are.
All of my love, best wishes… and Namaste, bitches.