Infinite thanks to Fehmeen for giving a voice to these words at the service this morning. I owe you more than I can ever hope to repay you.
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Right around this time every year, my mom would come down to my classroom at La Entrada. While I would busy myself with putting up bulletin boards and setting up the general aesthetics of my room, she would sit in her usual spot at the circular table in the back of the room near the water faucet. She would take my six class rosters for the upcoming school year and write down the names of every single student on file folders. When she finished that job, my mom would alphabetize the folders and place them in the filing cabinet behind my desk. Nobody but me would see the fruits of her days labor but trust me when I tell you that without her organizational assistance, my classroom would have been an unmitigated disaster area.
Not only did my mom spend the morning working on those files, she also brought lunch for us as well. Turkey sandwiches on sliced sourdough rolls were the typical order of the day. Her culinary skills didn’t begin or end with that sandwich, either. Ask anyone who has eaten her homemade Christmas toffee or perhaps you can speak with any of my friends from Allen School who used to trade their Twinkies with me for one of my mom’s famous chocolate chip cookies, they can tell you. And don’t even get me started on the dinners she would prepare on a nightly basis. All that I’m going to say is that nobody said no to seconds.
Once we had finished our lunches, my mom would watch as I opened up my annual back-to-school care package. Every year she would fill a box with essential teacher supplies such as lozenges, Altoids, Lifesavers, pens and pencils, and of course, my personal favorite, Swedish Fish. Care packages like this have been a Judy Picetti tradition for decades. My college roommates would eagerly await my arrival home from class so they could be amongst the first people to taste one of those aforementioned chocolate chip cookies. Not a single holiday would go by without my mom bestowing upon me, my dad, and during these past five years, Fehmeen, an appropriately themed gift, that, without a doubt, would include my beloved Swedish Fish.
Being a teacher herself, my mom knew the importance of having fun in the classroom. Former students of mine who have enjoyed playing the game of Fizz Buzz can thank my mom for teaching it to me. She would consistently introduce me to new games like Quiddler and proceed to consistently beat me at them time after time. Without mercy. All the while smiling.
And even these past few years when my four-walled classroom had given way to ALS Boy dot com, my mom continued to help me out, not necessarily with file folders, but with the typing on my blog. She would feed me my oatmeal every weekday morning. Emma’s holiday packages got bigger while Fehmeen’s and mine got smaller. The games changed from card games like Quiddler to predicting how many games Barry Zito would win this season. Through it all, though, one thing remained exactly the same. My mom was always there for me and for that, I say thank you for all the Swedish Fish. I love you.