One of the sessions I attended at last week’s amazing Quest Conference had to do with “Cultural Proficiency”. The first activity the presenters asked us to do was to think of 3 great things that described ourselves and explain them to a colleague. Needless to say, it ended up sounding like a job interview. The second activity was to write down 5 descriptors that were used to explain who we were and that were integral to the “core” of our being. Next we were asked to remove them from the list one by one based on any criteria we wanted to establish. What we were left with would explain our priority/priorities or most accurate descriptor. The last one standing on my list was “mother.” The presenters explained that in order to know others, we must look within and know ourselves.
This activity undoubtedly helped explain why being away from my kids for 9 days was so difficult. What did I miss while I was touring France and Belgium with 60 kids and 6 other teachers? My daughter’s first tooth came out. As I told this story to a fellow teacher at the conference, she asked: “Did the tooth fairy still come?” I replied: “He did.” To my disappointment, when I came back, my daughter lost her second tooth while I was catching up on my jetlagged-but-much-needed sleep. This one went down the drain and so a letter to the tooth fairy was in order. My daughter decided she would politely ask the tooth fairy what her name was instead of asking for a certain amount of money which I told her would be ill-advised. She left a pen under her pillow for the tooth fairy to respond. In the morning, the tooth fairy wrote a single name: Fatima. My daughter carried around the letter all day informing all her friends of the breakthrough in finding out the tooth fairy’s name. It almost made up for my absence.
My trip to France and Belgium was incredibly amazing and it was the first time I had been there. The tour included: La tour Eiffel, Montmartre, Mont-St.-Michel, Caen, Rennes, Dieppe, Juno Beach Centre, Arras, Le Louvre, L’Arc de Triomphe, Versailles, Ieper, the Menin Gate, Passcheandale and Vimy Ridge on Remembrance Day. They were sites I will never forget and that I can share with my kids someday. But for now, I am happy to be home and happy to be spending time as a “mother” with my family.