I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about how to tell some of my own story. I’ve never attempted this before, but quite a few lovely bloggers have inspired me for a good while, now. And then, just in the last day or so, I saw that this blog hop is being revived by Michelle at Mummy from the Heart. Suddenly, I knew what I wanted to do. Here is the result. Oh, and to those of you who’ve supported me for the last two years, with tweets and messages, thank you all, too. I know this is only a tiny bit of ‘me’ and a few of you will wonder about the rest. Please bear with me. OK, let’s go:
Dear Lady at the ‘special needs’ table, at the college open day,
First of all, sorry to give you such a long name to be ‘also known as’. But for one thing, I’m sorry to say I’ve forgotten your real name, and for another, it’s perhaps for the best that I don’t put it here. I’m sure you would understand.
I think that the one and only time we met will remain with me forever. As I recall, it was like this: I’d been walking round the advice and information tables that evening, getting gradually more despondent about my chances of adding to my formal education, so as to be able to take my working life in a new direction, or at least feel more fulfilled in the work I do. For an hour or more, all I’d really learnt about was the extent of the problems in my way. I was reluctantly preparing to leave. After all, I was way too old, wasn’t I?
And then I came to your table, near the exit. Now in those days, I didn’t much appreciate what ‘special needs’ is usually supposed to mean. As it happened, that didn’t matter, because, as well as being able to advise would-be learners with all kinds of learning difficulties, you also knew all about advising those who were, for example, victims of unusual circumstances.
You smiled, and greeted me. I only hope I managed to smile back. As you offered to help in any way you could, I began to tell you some of my story of the hindrances to my education (not my parents’ fault) that had beset my earlier life. You pointed to a chair, and sat down yourself.
I felt as if I was slowly thawing out after a long time in cold storage. You listened, just throwing in a few questions and words of advice now and then. After a few minutes, life didn’t seem quite as bad. A plan was coming together, but there were still countless ‘what ifs’ running through my head. And then it was time to conclude.
We stood up, and you smiled again and looked at me as we shook hands.
What you said then is what I will always treasure. I hope I manage to pass it on to others. It was not some inspirational quotation from Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, Rudyard Kipling, or Ernest Shackleton (although I love many of those.)
It was just this:
It’s not too late!”
By now, my eyes were filling. Trust me, it was all I could do, not to walk round to the other side of that table and hug you. I smiled through unashamed tears, and left, happy.
The story of the next two years, and the qualifications I have achieved, would take another letter. But, for now, I want to say that I feel calm about the way forward; even though there are still a good many ‘what ifs’ left, they don’t scare me any more.
Dear lady, thank you.
I’m also linking this post to ‘Share With Me’ set up here, by Jenny at Let’s Talk Mommy.
This is especially because I’ve never posted anything as personal as this before. (But it feels right to do so now.)