Epilogue

According to the metrics from the WordPress website which hosts all of the Libby’s Living Legacy stories, most people who read these posts only see the current issue but the following link will give you access to every post, that is, if you care to scroll down through the long list:  https://libbyslivinglegacy.com/

Soon after Libby’s memorial service I began writing about our relationship, beginning with our first date. The process of writing and the resulting stories served dual purposes:  altruistically, as a gift  to our grandchildren and selfishly, for their therapeutic value to me; both purposes have been accomplished and I really appreciate the encouragement, notes and letters.

Epilogue

Libby was always a sucker for a Hallmark love story movie, so as recompense for watching sports with me, I suffered through more than my fair share of the one and a half hour, happily-ever-after, chick flicks.

One movie in that genre was entitled Love Comes Softly which was released in 2003 based on the book by the same name from author Janette Oke.  The Christian themed movie quickly became Libby’s favorite and the release of each new movie sequel (and few prequels) was an event not to be missed in our home. Set in the 19th century as the West was being homesteaded, the original movie had a predictable plot centered around a widow and a widower whose relationship begins to develop because of their common loss and their need for survival.    During one memorable part of the movie, the widower’s 5-year-old daughter notices that her dad’s grief has slowly subsided and as he begins to enjoy life with his new family she comments, “My Daddy got his laugh back”.

Every couple, I am sure has them, those quirky sayings shared with one another which make absolutely no sense to others because they weren’t privy to the back-story. I am confident the same thing happens in many relationships just like it did between Libby and I because after watching a movie together, one of us would repeat a line from the movie, so many times in fact, over the next few weeks, that it became woven into a our daily vocabulary. For instance, Libby would often talk about a friend who had been mourning and say, ” I sure hope she gets her laugh back”.

Thirty five years of marriage changes a person, for better or worse (pun intended). Each person’s individual beliefs, goals, temperament and even personality are melded together and both parties eventually assume different (hopefully better) beliefs, goals, temperament and personality.  Those quirky little sayings shared by a couple are as much a part of this new life as the first day of school or the first time you sang in front of the church. Some of us who “married up” as they say, were blessed to be in a relationship in which the benefits received from the relationship far outweighed the benefits given and the subsequent changes are monumental.

Several weeks before Libby died we were discussing how much we both have grown and changed in our relationship with each other, she was thinking more and more about her future, our boy’s future and my future. Libby worried about our boys and how they were they going to be able to handle the loss of their mother; that’s when Libby looked at me and said,  “I’m sorry that I will not be around for our boys, but I am also sorry that I will not be around to grow old with you……”

My response to her melancholy dialogue was to try to get her to talk about something else, so I jumped in with, “Now, Libby, don’t be talking like that….you’re not going anywhere for a long time….” .  But this time Libby stopped me in mid sentence and continued her thought by asking, “……I wonder how long it will take……..after I am gone……..before you to get your laugh back…….?”

 

Third Letter to Libby

Hey Libby,

Well, I guess you know by now that your mom is no longer down here on earth, she was ready to leave but she is really going to be missed.  I am assuming that death looks completely different from your perspective than it does from here; you guys were probably eating and rejoicing at a banquet while were crying at a funeral.

Meanwhile, back here on earth (more specifically Flintstone) one of our cats (Gato) ran away and so now I’m down to just one cat (Ring). You know that I never really wanted a cat anyway and its obvious that Ring doesn’t really like me either, but our two granddaughters are fascinated by “Kitty Kitty” so I keep buying cat food and putting up with the dead critters that she and brings up on the porch.

Speaking of things that smell, how old is that cereal in the bottom of the pantry?

As you can see by the picture (unless photos get blocked up there) we had some fun with your car, actually it was Jerod’s idea to lift it, put on big tires, a winch, a luggage rack and some cool pink graphics so we could raffle it off to help build the playground that we had talked about.

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Between raffling your car, donations, chili suppers, bracelet sales and corporate sponsors we raised over $80,000 for the playground. Maybe you’ve seen it just south of the church? Wait, I forgot, you never liked for me to give you directions that involved North, South, East or West…… just look between the gym and ball field where the gravel parking lot used to be, you can’t miss it.

Although many of the children who play on the Libby’s Living Legacy playground never met you and can’t fully comprehend the amount of work involved, they do know two things,  it’s Miss Libby’s Playground and it is there because “Miss Libby loved children”.

I told you in my last letter about our 40th reunion of Chattanooga Valley High School (GO Eagles) coming up soon. The organizing committee for our reunion will hold a silent auction and donate the proceeds to your playground but its been a struggle getting everything together especially since you were the one that organized all of the reunions in the past.  Do you have a file somewhere with all of that stuff in it?

As I mentioned above Nathan and Bethany have given us two two gorgeous granddaughters, Elizabeth Joy and Lydia Grace.  I often daydream about you interacting with them and how many kisses you would have given them by now. The problem is, I’m loosing my ability to imagine your reactions when I see the girls do something new and different.  That could be good, I guess, if it means that I am progressing further through the grieving process or it could be bad if it’s just old age.

Elizabeth was two years old in June and her mom and dad have been showing her your picture and telling her about her grandmother “Gibby” (That’s my name for you, again from one of my blog posts, maybe you saw it?).  The girls will know what their grandmother Gibby looks like from all of the pictures and when they are old enough to read some of these stories, they will learn about their grandmother’s character, beliefs and love of others.

Lydia and Elizabeth in wagon

You would be very proud of our boys, they are doing great and both have been very supportive as I have struggled to regain my equilibrium for the past two and a half years. Jerod took over a lot of responsibility in the company which helped to keep me out of the mental hospital (so far). Nathan has started his residency in Murfreesboro and for the first time since kindergarten at CCS there is no more TUITION!

Did you ever write down your beef stroganoff recipe?  Not that I would cook it because except for some fried bologna for a sandwich and scrambled eggs for Elizabeth, I haven’t used the stove. Don’t even ask about the oven, it’s as clean as it was the last time you saw it.

Everyone here misses you terribly, although they don’t come right out and say it to me. I’m sure its because they are concerned that if they bring your name up it will upset me or maybe “set me back”. Who knows, maybe they are right, besides no one wants to see a grown man cry.

Speaking of crying, are there really, “no more tears” in heaven and are the streets really made of gold or is that just a metaphor?

I guess my dad has had time to  fill you in on the recent happenings in our little circle of friends and family. But then, again, you should know that dad had Alzheimer’s during his last two years here on earth so you may want to double check his facts since he was known to say some outrageous things just before he left here and most of them only happened in his head.

I’ll say bye for now.

Love you more….

Barry

 

Letter Two

Second letter to Libby:

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Dear Libby,

Its confession time; now it may come as a surprise to you but during our marriage when we were sitting around the house and you were talking to me, I wasn’t always listening intently to every single word that you were saying especially if there was a football game on TV.

Shocking, I know.

Case in point; I vaguely remember remarks about colors – whites- bleach – temperature and other things about laundry that you thought  I should know. Well shortly after you left, although its not really my fault (blame it on ESPN) I somehow ended up with pink underwear, tie-dyed dress slacks and a very large iron shaped logo melted into the lapel of my synthetic, wicking “no iron” shirt.

Although my laundering skills might be suspect, on the bright side I have lots of new clothes and more grease rags than I will ever use. Now, obviously there is no reason to cry over “spilt” milk, besides if  I used these letters to try and make amends for all of the foolish things I have done there wouldn’t be room for me to write about the things that have been happening.

Speaking of current events,  do you remember what we were doing at this time four years ago?  (Of course, you probably posses total recall) but in case you don’t, we were watching the 2012 London Summer Olympics. I can’t help but think of those times when we sat on the couch with a bowl of popcorn between us watching gymnastics, swimming and track and field.  Spoiler alert, the US girls gymnastic team is stronger than ever and Micheal Phelps has more gold than the Aztecs.

In the normal letter writing process this is where I would say, “Well, I’m sure you already read my first letter” but the truth is I have no clue if you even received my first letter.  It gives me a headache when I try to understand the relationship between heaven and earth. For all I know, you may have seen this letter as I typed it and maybe you witnessed the Olympics and my laundry debacle? Hey, can you see the winning lottery numbers?

Speaking of writing letters, I now have blog! Again, shocking news I know. Of course, being the author of a blog isn’t exactly a great accomplishment because if you have the ability to launch Windows Explorer, you can start a blog.  But can you believe it? Me, the guy who hated English Composition class in college is now writing without being forced to do so.

I mentioned the blog because I often look back through old pictures and letters to reminisce about our life together and sometimes  post stories about you. OK, that’s not totally true, because every story I post in my blog is about you.

A few months ago I told the story about the rainy Sunday afternoon during that time when we were remodeling the master bath. I told my blog readers how we sat together on our couch and you began crying.  If you remember, I asked why you were crying and you said, “I’m afraid the last scan is going to show that the cancer is back and I’m never going to get to sit in my new tub!”  I tried consoling but you recoiled from my hug, shook your finger in my face and said, “…and if you think that SOME WOMAN is going to sit in MY TUB, you’ve got another think coming mister”.

Well, since its confession time, some “woman” has been in your tub several times:

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In other news, we are planning our 40th high school reunion, can you believe it? We have been passing around yearbooks and old photos at our planning sessions and telling stories about dances, homecoming and our favorite teachers. I really feel old when the conversation turns to kids, grand kids and even great grand kids. That got me to thinking, are you getting older in heaven or will you be 56 when I get there? Again, I am struggling with the whole dynamic of time and space between heaven and earth.

But wait, what if you are not aging and what if I don’t die until I’m 95?

How do you feel about older men?

Love, Barry

 

Letters to Libby

Libby battled breast cancer for five relatively healthy years but her health declined rapidly in the last three months of her life. During those final months it was painfully obvious to both of us that although she won a few battles she was not going to win the war.  Because of the time we had together toward the end everything that needed to said between us was said, but that hasn’t stopped me from dreaming about spending just one more day with her.

Now, I’m not delusional enough to believe that God will give me a day with Libby; I am, however, sufficiently deluded enough to write a few letters to her:

Part I

Hey Babe,

There are so many questions that I need to ask, but I fear that this communication method is going to be a little one-sided, if in fact you even get to read this. It may be like that marriage conference that we attended where we were asked to write out our concerns and exchange letters instead of talking to each other. That’s where we learned that the very act of writing things out often helps the writer more than they help the reader.  Could that be the case here?

Things have been really busy around here since you’ve been gone and I wanted to fill you in on some of the happenings.  I’m sure you have missed me but I’m going to predict that you have not finished talking to everyone in heaven that you wanted to talk with, even after 28 months, in fact you may not have even finished talking with your dad yet.

After you left in the early morning hours of March 25th, two years ago, everything changed for me down here (and by “down here” I mean of course, down here on earth… not …. well…  you get the idea).  I’ve had the normal depression, loneliness, anger and jealously of other couples (maybe I still do ) but the most difficult thing that I have had to overcome is the urgent need to call you immediately following an exciting event that I hear or see. It took months before I stopped reaching for my cell phone to call you when I heard something that I knew you would enjoy hearing.  I miss that child-like excitement and pure joy that you always showed when good things happened for your friends or family.

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Since I can’t pick up that cell phone and call, I decided to write a letter and well, I guess I just need to start at the beginning:

That Celebration of Life service that you requested was a tremendous success. It was standing room only in the sanctuary and we added video screens in the gym so those in the overflow area could watch the service.  I may have been experiencing some shock during the visitation portion of the service because with each new face that I saw I thought, “I need to tell Libby that they are here, she will want to talk to them”.

After the service I began looking through old pictures and letters that we wrote to one another. That’s when I decided that our grandchildren should know their grandmother and “our story” so I began writing about how we met, our first date, etc. which eventually led to a blog. Maybe you’ve even read the blog?  See, once again, I’m not sure what you guys can see and what you can’t see.

I was writing in my blog the other day about the arguments we used to have, some petty and some were serious. Although we both matured a lot in our 35 years of marriage, in the beginning, at least, we both insisted on getting the last word in and always being “right”. In one of our “discussions” when you thought I was taking you for granted, you made the comment, “If anything ever happens to me you will be find someone else, forget about me, and be remarried within six months!”. At the risk of once again sounding petty and immature I have to say: ” You were wrong…I won that one! ”

Since we are keeping score (or at least I am keeping score) I also remember a discussion we had one night just before you left when I said, “Libby, I’m so sorry that this is happening to you, I wish there was something more I could do.”  I’ll never forget your reply:  “Are you kidding me?” you said, ” I have the easy part.  I just have to lie here and let you take care of me for a little while longer and then I’ll be in heaven, but you have to stay here and live without me”.

OK, I’ll have to give you that one, you were right. Although I’m not sure how hard it was to die, living without you has been harder than I ever thought it could be.

You also used to tell me that I was way too independent and that I really didn’t even need a wife. Well, you were wrong on both points becasue I can tell you from experience, independence is not what its cracked up to be and although I didn’t always say it, I always needed you.

Now (and this is totally off of the subject) speaking of needing things, where did you put the vacuum cleaner bags? I’ve looked in all of the obvious places.

There are so many things that I would like to talk to you about, some are monumental things like two of the most gorgeous granddaughters in the world who have their “PaPa Bear” wrapped around their fingers. Then there are the not-so-monumental things that I need help with, such as: Is there some kind of code to match up the right Tupperware top with the bowl or do I have to try every single, stupid, plastic top in the stupid Tupperware drawer?

Can you see us down here? I’m not sure if you guys can see us moving about on this earth? There are versus in the Bible that are very likely meant to be a mystery, but I have read about “a great cloud of witnesses” so there is definitely something is going on up there. Anyway, if your can see us, I’m sure you noticed that the wedding ring which you put on my finger, is now gone. But wait, there is a story:  You see, Nathan put his wedding ring into the pocket of his surgical scrubs and then forgot about it when he threw them out, so I thought you would approve if I gave him my wedding band.  It still feels awkward and many times I feel guilty not wearing a ring but I guess I’m slowly getting used to it.  Sorry.

A lot has happened in 28 months and I have a lot more questions and things to tell you, including updates on our church, our friends and even politics ( You will not believe who is running for president! ).  I’ll write again soon.

I love you more,

Barry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mistakes, Wisdom and HEDs

I enjoy reading the comments made by readers of this blog and some of the more generous ones have included things like, “you need to write a book”. In the unlikely event that a book ever happens it would most likely include a chapter entitled “What NOT to do for a successful marriage”. 

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Libby and I both made lots of mistakes in our marriage but after Libby’s miscarriage I feel like I became an expert on what not to do in a relationship.  Men (and women too) sometimes think they are helping the situation when we say things following a miscarriage including “You can always try again”, or ” You’re still young and you have plenty of time to get pregnant again” appearing to imply that what happened is just an inconvenience and the best thing for everyone is to forget about the past and to get back to “normal”. Hindsight can be a cruel teacher and it has taught many of us to treat a miscarriage the same way you would treat the death of any child.

If only our brains came standard with a USB port tucked in behind our right ear so we could easily transfer these lessons learned into the minds of young people because it is a lesson that, like so many others in life, is learned after the fact, usually when it is no longer needed.

I wasn’t much help later when Libby battled depression for over a year following the miscarriage because I didn’t really know how to handle the situation.  Now, I will admit that a depressed Libby was more upbeat than 90% of “regular” people, but her close friends and family knew it was struggle for her during that time after we lost Adalynn.  Added to everything else, Libby felt like she was a bad mother because the boys slipped out of the house without her knowledge and could have easily been hit on that busy road.

The new house and property presented lots of challenges and opportunities while it opened up a Swiss Family Robinson type world for two adventurous boys as we built go-cart trails, tree houses, bridges, zip lines, and forts. There were trees to climb, camp sites to build, creeks to dam up and plenty of mud to track in on mom’s new white berber carpet.  When the boys were in high school our house was used to hold birthday parties, host cross-country parties, build homecoming floats and set off HED’s (Homemade Explosive Devices).  Several times our back yard was turned into a Hollywood back lot where the boys and their friends filmed several movies including war movies which took advantage of the campsites, creeks, trails and HED’s simultaneously.

Libby and I had the goal from the beginning to provide a place where our boys and their friends wanted to play, instead of taking them to someone else’s house. One of the oddest conversations that I ever heard in our house was Libby innocently explaining to some parents that, yes, sometimes our boys built bombs, but they were only allowed to set off very small ones by themselves because we had a firm rule that all large concussion bombs and fireballs required at least one adult to be present.

Both the new property and house were a hit with our boys and, as it turns out, therapeutic for their mom.  With time and some wise counsel, Libby got through her time of depression and we “got our Libby back”. Although most people would never have guessed that her feelings of inadequacy were always hovering just below the surface, they would sometimes sneak up on her, overshadowing God’s promises, as she would make comments such as: “I feel so unworthy that I’m not sure that I am even going to go to heaven”, a comment that caused many of our friends to respond in unison with this proclamation: ” If Libby Gilley is not going to heaven then the rest of us might as well give up, because we have no chance.”  Still others made more crude responses, equating those chances to that of a snowball surviving in an extremely hot location.

Our Family Grows

After several years as an early childhood educator Libby was well on her way to becoming a well respected and even admired teacher in every school in which she taught, my career with Olan Mills, however, was another story.  Libby and I had talked about starting a family and I had quickly realized that a photographer’s salary was not going to provide sufficient support for a family, especially if she decided not to go back to work.  After some serious discussions with Libby and lots of prayer, I quit my photography job and enrolled full time in the engineering program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga six long years after graduating from high school.

To help with finances while I was in college I had as many as five different jobs at one time including free lance photography, a bottled water delivery business, construction and solar panel sales.  Four years and a lot of sleepless nights later I would graduate from UTC attending commencement exercises in the spring of 1986, but not before Libby announced a commencement of her own.

During my junior year in college Libby became pregnant with our first son Jerod and he was born in November of my senior year.  On Monday after Jerod was born I skipped class with plans to hand out bubble gum cigars to my professors until I found out how much a box of bubble gum cigars cost, that’s when I decided that I would hand out the “real” cheap cigars wrapped in blue cellophane proclaiming  “Its a Boy!”.   After all, the guys had Phds, so surely they knew the hazards of smoking.  In hind sight I should have destroyed the empty cigar box because Libby found it and was not happy with my choice.

I had always marveled at Libby’s ability to fall in love with the students that she taught and become absorbed in their lives far beyond the classroom.  I had never before seen such a capacity to love so completely and so quickly, but then we had our own and she fell in love more deeply than ever before.

Our family was not the only thing changing; during my second year of college I began working for a small construction company designing and building earth sheltered houses, installing storm windows and other energy conservation materials in houses.  I enjoyed the work and as the small company began to grow we began designing and building more commercial projects and soon Libby and I took out a second mortgage to buy stock in Construction Consultants Inc.

When Jerod was nearly two years old, Libby gave birth to our second son Nathan and seemed as if everything was going perfect for us with two healthy boys, a growing business, a great church, great friends and a close family.  Life was good and we often commented to each other and to our friends that were indeed blessed. Then we received a call from the hospital.

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The phone rang late one evening as Libby listened to the caller I watched the life drain from her face.  Libby quietly hung up the wall phone and starred into Nathan’s eyes.  When I asked her who was on the phone she told me that one of the nurses who had been in the delivery room when Nathan was born had called to say that we needed to bring him back in for additional tests.  The nurse went on to tell Libby, in a very matter of fact tone, that one of Nathan’s screenings had shown some abnormalities which indicated mental retardation and we needed to make plans to bring him in for additional testing to see the extent of the retardation.  Libby and I had just gone from most amazing high to the deepest low in minutes and for the remainder of the evening Libby could not be consoled as she sat in the living room floor cradling Nathan in her arms and sobbing.

Jerod must have sensed the uneasiness in the house that evening because it was difficult to get him to sleep as I spent most of the night in the guest bed next to Jerod’s room because he was so restless.  The next morning I found Libby still in the living room holding Nathan praying and sobbing.  I never asked if she got up early or stayed up all night because I was in a daze as well.  After breakfast I dressed the boys and got them ready to go the hospital while Libby called the doctor’s office to find out where the test would be performed, but when the nurse looked up Nathan’s chart she said there had been a mistake and someone was supposed to call us back to let us know that there had been a mix up in the lab and Nathan’s test was fine.

Libby was not happy with way that the hospital staff handled the situation and that may have been the most angry I have ever seen Libby in our 35 years of marriage (at someone other than me).  Libby was a bundle of emotions as she was simultaneously relieved, irritated, ecstatic and frustrated.

If nothing else the episode demonstrated to us both how precarious the good times can be and how quickly things can change, a lesson that we would continue to be taught many more times in our life.

Libby’s Love of Children

With our wedding, honeymoon and several arguments behind us, Libby would graduate from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the spring of 1980 having completed her student teaching at Howard Elementary School, an inner city school in downtown Chattanooga. Libby’s impact on the students, faculty and administration was immediate and obvious at Howard and every other place in which she taught.  Libby had been teaching children since she was fourteen years old in a Sunday School class at her dad’s church, but now she was getting paid to do the thing that she loved most and it was obvious to all who who knew her that she had found her true calling in life.

Libby's graduation

Now, with Libby working we had two incomes and no college tuition to pay so there was a huge weight lifted off of our financial shoulders.  With less financial strain on our relationship we had only minimal disagreements until we clashed over an idea that Libby had while teaching at Howard Elementary when she decided that way too many of her kindergarten students were from broken homes and they would benefit from a positive family experience.   Libby thought that the best way for many of her students to have that positive experience would be to bring two or three of her students to our house every weekend so we could take them hiking or fishing on Saturday and then take them to Sunday School and Church on Sunday. Libby had everything worked out in her mind, including the fact that she would simply bring them home on Friday and they would stay at our house until she took them back to school with with her on Monday morning,  Then as the year progressed we would be able to keep all of her students at least for a few days and give each of them a positive Christian influence.

Libby’s heart was in the right place but she and I had to have a serious discussion about a few of the practical details that she had failed to consider in her zealous approach to changing her kindergartner’s circumstances such as liability insurance coverage, crossing state lines with minor children, and class action lawsuits.  Libby thought everyone looked at the world the same way she did, and although it would be nice if that were so, I had to continually introduce a cynical realism into her pure, idealist world.

In the end, we never kept any children at our home but in spite of that, Libby’s love impacted nearly all of the children that she taught and many times their parents as well. As a compromise for not keeping children in our home, Libby and I spent several weekends in the inner city projects visiting the homes of her students to try and convince their moms that they needed to take an active role in their child’s education, praying with them and giving them books to read to their children.

Libby had some unusual teaching challenges as she taught at Howard Elementary,  Graysville Elementary and Chattanooga Valley Elementary; a rule follower by nature, Libby found it completely amazing that people who knew the rules would choose to break one or more of those rules. One memorable challenge involved an unruly, spoiled little kindergarten boy (whom I will call Jonathan).  Jonathan was constantly getting into trouble, he was the type of boy that had never been disciplined at home and he found out early in life that a good old fashioned temper tantrum was the key to getting anything he wanted.  Now, besides being a rule follower, Libby was confident in her decisions (some may say stubborn) and it was nearly impossible to change her mind once she made it up, and she had made up her mind that Jonathan had a scared, loving, insecure little boy trapped inside a short-tempered bully who needed some discipline and direction in his life, and if his parents wouldn’t provide it then she would.

I was regaled nearly every night at the dinner table with stories of Jonathan being involved in fights, kicking a teacher and bullying other children in their kindergarten class.  One day when Libby was trying to correct some errant behavior, Jonathan kicked her in the shin and tried to bite her arm.  Libby calmly picked Jonathan up and wrapped her arms around him holding him tight.  She had her teaching assistant take the other children out to the playground and Libby continued to restrain Jonathan throughout recess and for most of the remainder of the day.  She would talk softly to him saying, “Miss Libby loves you and I only want you to listen to me and be obedient”.  When Miss Libby finally released her lovingly firm grip, Jonathan was sullen and quite until he got on the bus to go home, then he told his mom about “that mean old lady teacher” that had picked on him and caused him to miss recess.

The following day Jonathan’s mother stormed into the principal’s office and demanded that the principal withdraw her son from the school and insisted that Mrs. Gilley be disciplined for being so hard on her son.  She informed the principal that she would be moving him to a better school with better teachers.  That evening when Libby arrived home she cried, saying that she had failed Jonathan and began to question her effectiveness as a teacher.  My comforting words for Libby went something like this, “He’s a spoiled brat with an overindulgent mom and you should be happy she transferred him.  I would call his new teacher and, as a professional courtesy, warn her of the impending doom!”

Not one to wallow very long in self pity, Libby soon got up from the couch and got busy, she found out where Jonathan was being transferred and the name of his new teacher, then she called Jonathan’s new teacher at home.  I thought Libby was going to take my advice and warn the teacher about Jonathan’s behavior problems and tell this new teacher what to expect from the entire psychotic family but no; the whole conversation between Libby and this other teacher involved Libby trying to get Jonathan back into her classroom.  (This was one of many examples why, as parents, you would much rather have Libby teach your children than me).  Libby told the new teacher that Jonathan was beginning to respond to her, but by changing teachers and schools now it would be the worst possible thing for him reinforcing his manipulative behavior.   Libby wanted the teacher’s help in convincing Jonathan’s mother that they should return Jonathan to Libby’s classroom and allow her to continue working with him. Libby’s plea to the teacher and later to her principal fell on deaf ears.  The saddest part of this story is that Libby never saw Jonathan again, she did keep up with his progress, or lack thereof, until several years later when she learned that he was in juvenile detention and once more Libby felt like she had let Jonathan down.

The conflict with “Jonathan” epitomizes the commitment and desire Libby had for each child entrusted into her care and I marveled how quickly and completely she could fall in love with the children of strangers throughout our first seven year of marriage, but then we had our own children and things really changed at our house.

easter