Approximately 17 years ago I worked at a summer camp called Summer Outdoors for 2 months. My 2 best friends and I all got hired to work that summer and I knew many of the other staff so I had no doubt it would be a great summer. It would be my first summer in many years that I would not be a camper but a staff member. It would start me on the road to becoming a teacher. It would give me the opportunity to meet a man that Anne Shirley would undoubtedly describe as a "kindred spirit". Even though I was only 15 and the age gap between us was significant Brian became one of the greatest influences on my life.
For 2 months out of the 382 I have lived (I will be 32 in 2 months) I knew this man and yet he has had a profound effect on my life. Imagine.
Brian and I reconnected just about 2 1/2 years ago via Facebook and I started to read his blog. His frank, open writing style inspired me to start this blog. I wanted to write like Brian. I wanted to have a chronicle of my life and my thoughts. I wanted to be open and honest, and if no one ever read than that was okay too.
Through Brian's blog I have met his gorgeous daughter Zoey and have decided that I want Avery to be just like Zoey when she grows up. I have "reconnected" with Brian's wife June who was a lifeguard at the pool that fateful summer. I believe, but I may be wrong, that Brian and June actually met that summer as well. It was a biggie, that summer.
Brian's family is going through some emotional times, some uncertainty and gut-wrenching worry. I want to just reach out and hug all of them. Instead of rejoicing over the purchase of their very first home they are worrying. Instead of planning and thinking of all the milestones that will be reached in this home, they are wondering how long they will be able to keep it. Anne's always described her "house of dreams", something I call "my forever house" (not there yet!) as the place where you would raise your family, create memories, life the best life you could. And yes you can do this in a rental, in a starter home, anywhere really- but when you have put all your heart and dreams into a house you are going to own you want life to carry on smoothly. You don't need upheaval and uncertainty surrounding the purchase.
Brian's inspirational writing led me to blog and here I am now with two- one personal and one for teaching. I never realized how much joy it would bring me. I want Brian's life to always be full of joy. I want to wipe all the worry away.
Kindred spirits are funny things really. You never know when you are going to meet them and how they will affect your life. Brian and I haven't seen each other face to face in years- YEARS and yet I feel as though he is a part of my life everyday. I knew from the moment I met him and saw how he interacted with the kids at camp that this was someone to emulate. We had many special needs campers at camp and Brian just had that way. That way of never talking down to them, never treating them as less than a person, always listening to what they had to say, valuing them as people. It was this amazing example that led me years later to become the kind of teacher I hope I am for my students. Somehow in those short 2 months Brian taught me the most important factors about my future profession and working with children. It's something I have hung on to for years.
Brian is an eternal optimist. He is always thinking of the positive and writing about his hopes. For Brian to have written some blog posts lately that shows that his train of thought as taken a downward turn just shows how worried he is. And the amount of his worry just shows the kind of man that he is. He's not worried for himself so much as he is worried for the life wants to give his family. The life he wants to create with his family. The memories he wants to hold of his family. Brian is definitely one of the good people. A kindred spirit.
2 months out of 382 and I still want to be like Brian when I grow up. He is someone I look up and aspire to be like.
Brian, June and Zoey- I am thinking of you everyday and keeping my fingers crossed that all your dreams come true.