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I taught for several years at a residential school for children with emotional disabilities before staying home after the birth of my second daughter. I returned to teaching, finished my Educational Leadership program in May of 2012, and now work as our district's Writing and Social Studies Coordinator. I have always loved writing and find constant inspiration from my family. Maybe someday, I will get to see my name on the cover of a book!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I Wish I Had Said Hello...

During March, I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by twowritingteachers.wordpress.com. I go back and forth between this blog and the blog that I share with Melanie Swider, tworeflectiveteachers.blogspot.com, depending on whether my post is personal or education-related. Feel free to join the community with comments or linked up posts!

I loved reading how Tara Smith wrote about her encounter with a woman at Trader Joe's here. Tara started talking with the woman who asked her about her plants, and found that the two of them had a lot to talk about in the chocolate aisle of Trader Joe's.

I wish that I had read Tara's post before I stopped at Michael's craft store over the weekend with Cecily, my youngest daughter. Cec and I were on a mission to find miniature sombreros for her cultural fair that is coming up (we failed) and glitter for the signs that Clare (Daughter #3) and her friend are working on to sell at the upcoming Relay for a Cure (success!). As we waited in line, an older couple joined us. I had noticed them shuffling through the store. She led him, and was careful not to lose him. Using his cane for balance, he stayed close behind, watching her and not noticing the shelves of glittering beads, shamrocks, wooden stencils, and artificial flowers.

In line, I looked more closely at him, and he smiled. He had half a face of whiskers, a half a face that reminded me of my dad when we don't remind him to shave the other side. His watery eyes focused on Cecily and her red hair. I loved that she met his gaze and said hello. Living with my dad has taught her a lot about people and kindness. I wish I, too, had said hello.

The woman placed a pair of knitting needles, size 10's on the counter behind our jar of glitter. I wondered what she was making, who it would be for. I wish I had asked.

 I hope that she is making a sweater or blanket for someone who will love it. I hope that someone puts their arms around her and somehow knows the effort and care that went into every last stitch, but began before the casting on, as she packed her husband into the car, chaperoned him around Michael's, and selected the right set of needles. I wish I had thanked her. Celebrated her effort. Invited her to share her knitting project, offered her an opportunity to share snippets of her day, her plans, even her past.

I wish that I had said hello.

Happy slicing,


  1. Aw, Melanie, I hear your regret. I'm the type who tries to get in and out of stores without having to bump into anybody to chit chat. On the occasion, though, when I do chat with a stranger, I'm usually glad I did. We need to remind ourselves that sometimes those encounters could lead to something good. Next time!

  2. The key is to move on and not regret the actions you could have taken, but focus on what you did. You did make eye contact, you did smile. Sometimes that is enough. There will always be a next time.

  3. Giving a thought and now sharing here is also a good thing, Melanie. Your words will touch many today.

  4. Here's a story from a blog I follow, that shows that sometimes, it's better to not say hello http://storyshucker.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/i-could-be-wrong/

  5. Some moments are more open than others,Melanie...but you noticed so much! I was especially touched by how much you were able to read into that monet with Cecily and the gentleman. You were able to reflect on your father, and how living with him at this stage in his life has transformed and enriched your family. I am sure that it is not easy - and that there must be some trying times. But, how wonderful to see that Cecily has developed a deep and abiding compassion, that her heart is open to noticing and to kindness. Now that's a moment to treasure and feel proud of. No regrets, my friend!

  6. My daughter has shared with me that I act "too Finnish" when we are shopping. Her meaning is that I don't talk with the people around me or smile enough. I have really tried to make an effort to smile more, start small conversations, and notice details. You are already miles ahead of me!

  7. Melanie, sometimes a smile is enough, but I know what you mean. I also remembered missed opportunities after reading Tara's slice. I love that you reflected and wrote so thoughtfully about this moment.

  8. I love how you wrote this...
    I love that you wrote this...

  9. Ah, I feel your regret in your post. We are going to see so many elderly people in our future and we ourselves will one day be elderly. Some of them have such rich life experiences that have made them who they are in our world.

    I love this line: Invited her to share her knitting project, offered her an opportunity to share snippets of her day, her plans, even her past.

    Thanks for always commenting on my blog, You are making me feel empowered