2/14/2005

Show and Tell

This morning Alissa took me to school as her Show and Tell. I was a dual-purpose Show and Tell exhibit; husband AND cyclist! So I wore my kit and took my bike with me.

Alissa's school is really fantastic. For those of you just tuning in for the first time, my wife Alissa works as a Teacher's Assistant at a school here in LA for autistic children. The children in her class are between 10 and 12 years old. Alissa is one of two TA's in the class, and there are also 2 one-on-ones, which are Adults who work exclusively with one student. The school is fairly small, but it's beautuful and very well kept. The halls are lined with the students' artwork, which is something Alissa loved when she started working there and today I could see why. It's a really vibrant place. When my mother was teaching I was in elementary schools often, but it's been years since then, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I sat in the back of the classroom while the kids arrived and watched the expressions on their faces as they noticed the man in the funny looking clothes and the bicycle. They were all full of energy as they talked with the teacher Mrs. Martinez about their weekends and about the fact that today was Valentine's Day. Once they all settled in and finished their journals, Alissa got up to introduce me. After the initial shock of hearing that Mrs. Millar was actually MARRIED wore off, the kids started peppering me with questions about me and my bike. I hadn't anticipated how nervous I'd be up there. Speaking in front of a classroom of children is intimidating stuff! Thankfully most of the questions were pretty benign and the kids were very sweet. After we talked about racing and how fast I could go, and about Lance Armstong and whether I'd ever raced him (no) and about how important it is to wear a helmet, I said my thank you's and waved goodbye.

I left feeling very proud of my wife and of the way she contributes every day to making our world a better place. For years people have been telling me how exciting and glamourous they think my job is. But this morning in a little classroom full of 5th graders, I was happy to learn the truth. Nothing I do professionally will ever be remotely as important to the work Alissa and her coworkers do every day. And I couldn't love her more for it. Happy Valentine's Day everybody.

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