My teacher, Mrs. Costello
was standing by my desk…
I’m the proud uncle of three children who live in Newtown and go to school there. My sister’s children, Maddie, Colin, and Ryan, are my world, so when I got text messages and then phone calls and then turned on the news that morning, I couldn’t wrap my mind around what I saw. I rushed down there in time to see them get off the bus safely, and as an uncle my instinct was to wrap myself around them like armor, to make sure nothing would every happen to them again. But there were empty seats on the bus that day, so I can’t even fathom what a mother feels - all of the mothers in Newtown. And those who have lost? It’s too much to talk about.
her face was like a flower,
Five months later and we’ve seen a sun beam of healing through the clouds, thunderstorms of controversy and heated debates, and another tragedy in Boston that diverts our national attention. Some people in Newtown have pieced together those porcelain shards as best they can, while others will forever be stuck in that day. But that’s not for me to talk about.
in a meadow that was only filled
What I do want to share with you is a poem my ten-year old niece, Madeline, or ‘my little blonde Rasta girl,’ as I call her, wrote about her teacher, Mrs. Costello. It is, perhaps, the single most beautiful and powerful thing I have ever read.
I am a professional writer yet I will never come close to emulating Maddie’s poem, the purity of human emotion a child sees when she looks up at her teacher’s face and sees her hero, her armor when we can’t be there, the protector of her innocence – flowers, in a meadow that’s only filled with trees.
So what I really want to say to all of the teachers out there is, from the bottom of my heart:
thank you to the flowers.