Thank you, Debbie.

This piece appeared on my blog one year ago. I repost it today in honor of beloved teacher and friend, Debbie Kelly, on the one-year anniversary of her passing on Aug. 9, 2015.


 

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Our daughters’ brave and beautiful kindergarten teacher, Debbie Kelly, passed away tonight after several months of tremendous suffering from her second occurrence of cancer. Both cancer fights came during the years our daughters had her, and although she had to go on medical leave both years, Debbie bonded strongly with our girls in a short time and nourished them with great care and a foundation of learning and love we will always cherish. We are so grateful we had the chance to tell her how much she meant to us, in our final conversations and communications.

Debbie had the same kind of impact on the countless students blessed to have had her as a teacher. The hundreds and hundreds of notes, letters, drawings, gifts, and poems written to her, delivered to her, and read to her during her final days are priceless, and I can only hope and pray they bring her courageous husband and two young children comfort in the months and years to come.

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Taking Stock As They Finish School…

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As they finish school, our girls feel proud and bittersweet, excited for what’s ahead but already missing what they’ve had this year. Good teachers, good friends, and much learning.

It was also a wallop of a year for them in many ways. And I’d like to think that the challenges they faced made them stronger. Because these girls certainly had a lot of them.

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When I Grow Up: Matilda and Our Armenian Daughters

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And when I grow up, when I grow up, I will be brave enough
To fight the creatures that you have to fight beneath the bed each night to
Be a grown up.

“When I Grow Up,” Matilda (Original Broadway Production, Music and Lyrics by Tim Minchin)

We were in New York last week with our daughters – their first time there. I wrote last week about the special Armenian Genocide Commemorations we were honored to participate in. Unforgettable.

But it was also an unforgettable family weekend with our girls: Going to the top of the Empire State Building to take in the view of the city and the Statue of Liberty, shopping at the Toys R Us (with the four-story ferris wheel inside!) and the larger-than-life M&M Store in Times Square, eating Junior’s Cheesecake, seeing their aunt and uncle, cousins, great aunt and uncle, family — and seeing their first Broadway show.

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Their first Broadway show – no small moment for this playwright. Thanks to some finagling by their uncle, my brother-in-law, we got tickets to see Matilda, one of my older daughter’s favorite books.

It was a delight, deeply meaningful and yet also humorous and musically catchy. A brave and unusually gifted girl overcoming a horrible family situation and bonding with a kind teacher who also benefits from the girl’s bravery and becomes braver herself.

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