The Hard Part of the Alphabet

Melisa Wachs//

Many of you have met John, so I thought you’d enjoy this posh little gem I dug up. This picture was taken in our first home, and although I don’t remember this very moment, I do have a fond memory from around this time, that many of y’all may be able to relate.

Our mother, Rita, was not just kind and gentle, but also firm. Family bonds were important and she often reminded us that, “the longest relationship you’ll ever have is with your siblings, not even your spouse or children. It’s a gift, so cherish and foster it.” (This reminder usually came after we had normal childhood squabbles.)

So, the eve of my first day of Kindergarten, when John took an unorthodox approach to “preparing me for school,” she allowed the chaos and mess that accompanied my lesson for the sake of building a relationship.

In essence, John turned our entire main level of the house into a giant obstacle course. Every movement through the course was not just a physical challenge, but an intellectual one as well. If I wasn’t able to properly complete the intellectual aspect, I had to start the physical component over. For example, I remember counting to 20 while weaving over and under the kitchen chairs as they lined the hall.

My admitted weakness, though, was the dreaded ..l, m, n, o, p… section of the ABC’s. He was grueling! Imagine doing cartwheels – on the couch – then jumping off the end arm while trying to focus on which letter was next – 26 times.

It was tiring. It was frustrating. I remember being very dizzy. But, I also remember the distinct look on his face and feeling of accomplishment when I finally made it. John is a natural teacher. He understood, even then, how to “make things stick.”

I’m so glad our mother knew when a memory was more important than a mess, that she always encouraged us to stick close. Other people might cringe at having their siblings and family members work alongside them, but not John. We may have our disagreements from time to time but at the end of the day I continue to look up to him and admire all that he’s done.

We hope you have a very blessed Easter with your families!

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