Crystal (in the center) and her two children.
I will never forget when I first met Crystal before the school year started in 2002. She came to visit my school and meet me when we were on the first day of our teacher workdays. Over the loudspeaker in my classroom, the office clerk said…
“Mrs. Davis! Mrs. Davis! Are you there? You have a parent who wants to talk to you for one minute. I’m sending her to your room right now.”
Click, click…loudspeaker off. Oh no, I thought! My room was still in shambles with some furniture still stacked halfway to the ceiling. There were papers everywhere. There were manipulatives piled on the floor that truly needed sorting. I looked like a nutcase with my very disheveled hair pulled back, a too big shirt with another school’s name on it, jeans splattered with yellow paint and to top the look off…I was sporting my just about torn-up, most comfortable sandals. I was a sight to behold and my room was totally (if at all possible) worse…maybe that statement is backwards.
Besides…how in the world did this parent know that I would be her child’s teacher? The class lists were not even out yet. Not even the teachers had any earthly idea about who would be in their class.
However, Crystal had been able to find out. Crystal evidently knew everyone in the office and they surely understood that she was concerned about her baby boy starting Kindergarten. So…someone placed him quickly on my class list and told her the room number. Within a minute or two, there was a knock on my classroom door and in Crystal walked holding a bouquet of flowers.
“Hello Mrs. Davis! I’m Crystal and you have been chosen to teach my son! Don’t worry! You are bound to like him a lot because everyone likes him a lot! Let’s have a little talk!”
And so began my friendship with the dynamic Crystal. She was outgoing, confident, smart, funny, a bit loud, sometimes a bit quiet, pretty and dressed like she was going to church. Actually, I felt like I was really in church with every subsequent conversation. I found that her faith was at the core of her family’s life. She had grown up in Pasadena, California and she had moved to Texas after she was an adult. She simply wanted every possible opportunity for her children, their dad, her relatives. They were a close family…then and now. She stayed for a long while that afternoon and helped me with my classroom. I was thrilled! What a great parent! And…I had not even met her child yet.
On the first day of school, her son was the first to arrive. O’Shea…the sweetest and the most handsome child imaginable. He shook my hand and told me that he was glad to meet me. He found his name on a locker and put his backpack away. He was able to find his name on a table and then quietly sat down. Amazing! I remember thinking…”Wow! I can’t believe that this is a five year old!”
We had a wonderful year…a fun class who were eager to learn. Crystal continued to help every chance that she had…she was at school for every event, for every party, for every program. O’Shea turned out to be a born leader…just like his mother. He was already athletic beyond reason. The physical education teacher said that he was clearly the fastest runner that he had ever had in elementary school. I would have a difficult time getting O’Shea to line up from the playground. He would always tell me…
“Wait a minute, Mrs. Davis! I am having a race with myself! All that I had to do was to mention LUNCH and he would run over to the sidewalk immediately!”
After O’Shea graduated from Kindergarten, I would talk to his mom from time to time. The family moved to a new house and no longer were in our attendance zone. Oh goodness…it is so rewarding to keep up with a very special family. When Facebook came along, I was able to know more about what was going on in their lives. Crystal and O’Shea are one of the reasons that I like Facebook so much.
O’Shea was a star football player in a large Texas high school, made good grades and was given a “full ride” athletic scholarship to Colorado State University. Crystal asked me to write a letter of recommendation to the football coach about O’Shea. I was so honored!
Colorado State is very distant from Texas and his parents missed him so very much, but their pride in his achievement was enormous. They have attended many of the football games…no matter how far. Some parents are incredibly supportive of their children and perhaps should teach classes in parenting skills. I have always thought that Crystal should be a teacher or perhaps a psychologist. Indeed, she has been working on finishing a college degree. She talked about going on to graduate school.
I write “talked” in the past tense because Crystal lost her life last Sunday in a tragic motorcycle accident. She and O’Shea’s dad rode Harley motorcycles and had been in Houston for the weekend. They often rode to other cities to gather with fellow Harley owners, so she was very accustomed to riding on the highway. Unfortunately, her tire had a blowout and she lost control. Her motorcycle rolled over several times.
I was heartbroken to hear the news as were her countless numbers of friends. She touched so many lives and helped so many of her friends through difficult times. And yet…she knew how to fully celebrate life…how to find joy in a child’s smile…how to love with all of her heart.
To O’Shea…I want to tell you how much your mother loved you, how proud she was of you and how she would want you to try your very best in every obstacle that you face…for life is inevitably full of obstacles. She would want you to find your smile again…remember her beautiful smile? She smiled so freely and so sincerely and she smiled so often! Look for your smile, O’Shea…your smile is still with you…and so is your Momma!
Love from your Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Davis