My 10-year-old cousin, Roger grabbed my facedown paper from off of my desk and started waving it around and yelling “Look, Cindy got a F on her paper!” I was already jumping up to retrieve the paper. But it was harder than I anticipated. So, I jumped on him and took him to the ground. I was not going to have everyone see my failure. My failure to color a picture for some science class. My failure to even try. So, quiet little Cindy fought her heart out to maintain her dignity. Although, the fighting wasn’t really dignifying… The teacher waded into the fray and separated us. I was given my paper back and we were sent to our corners. You would think that was the end of the story.
However, fighting in the classroom brought consequences. Roger received a kick in the pants that sent him flying nearly out of the door that was 15 feet away. And I was told that I would have to stay after school. Which would have been fine for most normal kids, but not for me. You see, I was the quiet kid who never got into trouble. I was the kid whose mother had been an invalid for the past 2 years. I was the kid that no one did her hair or made sure that she had on clean clothes. I was the kid that was raising my little brother and sister. And I was the kid whose parents were getting a divorce.
Being kept after school meant that I missed the bus. Which was a big deal. I lived in Daley Estates and it was not a walkable distance. I had no one to call and no way to call anyway. So, I wondered around outside the school in the deserted playground not even having an idea of what to do. Feeling alone and abandoned. Eventually, my grandmother realized I was missing and came to find me. When she found me, I broke down in tears and sobbed all the way home.
I have been thinking about this story for the past several days. I have been thinking about how this incident affected me. Really the only part of that memory I was really remembering was the fight in the classroom. I had forgotten all about the rest of it. Roger and I became great friends when we were older. I loved him dearly. He was after all a 11-year-old boy picking on his 10-year-old cousin. But as I dug deeper it occurred to me that when I stepped back and really looked at the story that I could find someone in it that really loved me. My grandmother
But then I started thinking of all of the others that were always in my corner and always there when I needed them. So, I made a love list. It is a list of anyone that has ever loved me or really anyone that I have ever loved. My Papa and grandma were at the top of the list. I knew they loved me and would do anything for me. They were my biggest cheerleaders over the course of their lives. To the point of being obnoxious at times. I lived with them right after I was born for a while because my mother had to have part of her kidney removed and we lived with them after my mother and father’s divorce and I lived with them later when I was 17 and had no place to go because my mother’s second surgery had left her with brain damage and they had taken her out of my stepfather’s home to take care of her. My mother and my father were both on the list too. My mother would have been heartbroken that she couldn’t be there for me. She was a stellar mother when her health allowed it. And although, my father and I have had our issues, I do think that he loved me in his own way. The more I wrote the more I realized how much I am loved. Many of those people on the list are no longer with us anymore. But their love still lives on. I can access that love every day. Just by remembering those people that loved me and that were always there to cheer me on. I have prayed and asked Heavenly Father to send those people to be my ministering angels. Those people that love me. Those people that were always in my corner. Those people that I fought with in front of the 5th grade class. To celebrate Valentine’s day this year. I encourage you to make your own love list and post it where you can see it and add to it every day. It is amazing what happens when there is a tangible list of people that love you. And who have always been a part of your life. I have created a free Love List downloadable printable for you here. Use it and feel the love.