Written by Brooke-Lauren Montgomery
From the age of three, I wanted to be like my mom. I thought everything she did was the greatest thing on the planet. She always made sure to dress me in the latest, hip style, which, back then, happened to be the 90’s. She packed me yummy lunches for daycare and let me play with her makeup. A picture of my three year old self recollects red lipstick smeared about my mouth similar to the joker's smile. All the things Mom did was awesome, but the most awesome thing she did circled around her job—teaching.
I remember mornings where Mom would get up before a hint of sun showed in the sky. She worked at Fritch Elementary, so she had a good forty-five minute drive at the least. Sometimes I sat in the bathroom propped up on a pillow against the wall, watching her get ready as I gobbled down Cheez-its. Since she had to leave the house so early, my dad took me to daycare each morning on his way to work. Mom left notes on what bow to put in my hair and what I needed to take for the day. We recently took down a piece of paper with, "Bow?" written in sharpie that had been taped to the garage door so Dad would see it before putting me in the car. It hung there for a good seventeen years or so. At daycare I observed how the teachers instructed the kids. My little self found it interesting. The best days revolved around Mom taking me to school with her. Most of the times were when students were not in the classroom. During the summer, Mom stapled decorations to the walls. When I asked why she did such a thing, she told me the decorations were for the beginning of the school year in August. However, the best thing in that classroom sat under a dry erase board—a pink, plush beanbag chair. I plopped myself into it and relaxed as Mom took care of the classroom. Sometimes she let me sit in her roller chair and she would push me down the hall really fast.
I do remember seeing her teach, instructing the students to do this and that. Seeing my mom do this job looked so cool. I wanted to do what she did. In my subconscious, I believe I also thought her job was neat because her occupation gave her a certain power. Being in charge over students had a certain power to it that appealed to me. Not power as in a mean, strict, and harsh sense, but the kind where you get the privilege to set rules and nicely instruct students to do this and that. Not only did she look amazing talking in front of the class, but the papers she wrote on that students turned in, peaked my interest. Often times, I saw Mom using a red pen to place random marks on papers as she sat in her recliner at home. Some were x's and some were smiley faces. I distinctly remember the lap desk she used; she got onto my dad for pulling me around the kitchen floor by a part of the material that had broken loose. In fact, I still have that lap desk somewhere.
As I grew a little older, around the age of eight, I gained knowledge of what a teacher really did. It wasn't random marks on papers or only decorating the classroom for the new school year, but it also consisted of role call and disciplinary actions if necessary. I had my own desk and papers that needed to be graded. My desk consisted of a fold up dinner tray, my cozy seat-- an ottoman, and my students' papers--pages ripped from a notebook. My classroom was, of course, none other than my bedroom. I made up the students' names with boxes next to them to check off when I called role. I took my job very seriously. I even wore high heels...princess high heels, thank you very much.
I obviously wanted to be a teacher, a dang good one, too. However, as I grew older, I realized I did not want to pursue it. Due to my being an introvert, I found teaching to be incompatible with my painfully quiet nature. Also, something about telling other peoples' children what to do did not settle with me. Telling invisible children what to do never fazed me, but when it came to the real thing, I cringed at the thought. Red tape became another thing I did not want to mess with--upset parents, over the top parents, ridiculously strict parents that had their poor kid(s) on impossible expectations. Though I am extremely shy, I have very little patience, and my impatience with overly demanding, unreasonable parents could very well land me a job on the unemployment line.
I became aware teaching was not for me when I was about twelve years old. Although teaching is out of the question for now, I went down the path of creative writing. My burning passion for writing gave me “whip lash” when I turned eighteen. I began writing poem after poem, lyric after lyric and, one day, as I sat in the parking lot of Amarillo College, God gave me the plot for my first novel. When I compare teaching to writing, they have an important similarity. In a way, I find writing equally appealing as the thought of teaching I had as a child. I am in control in both occupations. I choose what I want to write about; the sky is the limit. In my mind, I can create characters based off real life people I know. So, I have the power to build someone up in my novels, or, throw someone under the bus, in justification, of course. I choose not to do the latter, no matter how crappy someone treated me for no reason, but this idea gives me a sensational feeling. [Yes, I know, awful, but I am human, too.]
Another reason I ditched teaching as an occupational idea is because God gave me the talent to write, and I refuse to let it go to waste. I have made up stories since I could pick up a pen. Even before I could read, I would pick up a picture book and make up my own stories that went along with the pictures. I had the capability to form a story so quickly, it appeared I actually knew how to read at the age of three. I do realize that writing comes with its own red tape. Not everyone will enjoy what I write; in fact, they may even hate it, but that is okay. Should one of my novels become famous, and I get thrown into the lime light, I must be prepared for constant criticism of my beliefs and never ending scrutiny at the faintest mistake I make. I am perfectly aware that walking Famous Avenue demands for impossible perfection. However, should this happen, I know God will equip me to handle it correctly. For every novel I write, I will always give thanks to God in my acknowledgements. He is the very reason why I can write. Writing is my passion. When you have a passion, you go for it. And that is what I have done.
Even though my desire to teach waned, I remain certain about one thing...my mom is still the greatest thing on the planet. She continues to remind me of aspects I want for my children. I want my children to think I'm cool. I want my children to see me take my job seriously. I want my children to remember I cared how they looked leaving the house, down to the color of bow for their hair. I want to make my children remember me as someone special and someone that loves them. Is my mom perfect? No, but I wouldn't trade her for anyone.