11.12.2009

I Wish We Didn't Know a Flu Victim

Seymour and I took all three kids in for flu shots this morning. I love our medical office -- they are masters of the BAM - DONE! injection. Leo barely had time to freak out, though I was certainly glad Seymour was there to help hold and reassure our boy.

That was the first of many errands. We also had the pleasure of visiting Kristina's gracious mom, and fetching a bag of puzzles freshly couriered from the East Coast. Leo was a patient and good-natured visitor, in contrast to his couch-vaulting and -submarining baby sister.

Then we were off to lunch at our favorite Eritrean restaurant, where Izzy ignored the siren call of vegetarianism by happily sucking marrow out of lamb bones, and Seymour and I went to injera heaven. Leo was content with the lunch we brought for him, and to do small puzzles and dot-to-dots.

We then drove back across the bay to our own town, and I took Mali to a ballet and Jazz dance class at a local studio. Her goal is to dance like Beyoncé, which as a fan of great dancing and Gwen Verdon is fine by me. She thought Ms. Knowles was going to be teaching her class, though -- thankfully her teacher was skilled and cheerful, and Mali enjoyed herself too much to be disappointed. She'll return.

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When we arrived home, we learned that Leo's and Mali's former preschool director had died from complications of a short but intense bout of the flu -- she had been perfectly well just a few days ago, as members of our church (where she attended) can attest. Both communities are reeling. I can't believe she's gone.

She was one of the smartest, calmest, and most experienced teachers I've known. She always knew how to talk to children and make them feel valued and respected (she was less tolerant with immature parents). She not only allowed but encouraged us to enroll Leo in her preschool, and bring along an aide -- and she took every opportunity to facilitate interactions between Leo and his typical classmates. Even so, she supported our taking Leo out of the school in the middle of his pre-K year, when the play-based lack-of-structure evolved into structured play and no longer suited his abilities.

She retired after (though not because of) Leo's class, but was still active in community educational and mentoring activities. And we still saw her at church. She told Seymour we'd need to "keep an eye" on Mali, after she witnessed our girl read the Welcome words during a recent service (not sure if she was advising caution or attentiveness, as her delivery was deadpan, but she is not someone whose developmental observations of young children should be ignored).

She was so valuable, so respected, and so loved. Our community and our children are poorer without her.

9 comments:

  1. So sorry to hear of your loss.

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  2. So sorry Squid. It's so unreal.

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  3. I'm so sorry for your loss. Peace to her loved ones and to you.

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  4. Oh, no! I'm so sorry xoxo

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  5. How terrible, so sorry for your loss.

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  6. What a huge huge loss.

    So glad you all visited my mom---she really enjoyed it.

    Hugs all around.

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  7. I'm so sorry. What horrible news. My thoughts are with you all.

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  8. Our congregations is going to remember her tonight, with a candle lighting gathering in our sanctuary. I'll bring your compassionate thoughts with me. Thank you.

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  9. I'm so sorry. She sounds like she was a gem.
    Did she have any underlying conditions that further hindered her immune system? This flu thing is really scary.

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Respectful disagreement encouraged.

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