My Big Brothers (Version 2-Revised)


My Big Brothers

For Joel & Glenn

I borrow his good stapler,
“Keep it, he says,
“I won’t need it when I go.”
He knows the value
of sharing what works
under this roof.

Packing and stacking boxes
my other brother
pauses looking through
the yearbooks–we laugh
and share stories
of the times we’ve left behind.
He, no longer a fixture,
closes the book—leaving
his shelves empty and forlorn.
Soon they will both be gone;
these two principals leaving me
like big brothers
off to college.
Neither merely a boss,
principal,colleague, or authority.
Off to face new challenges,
leaving us, the family,
missing our big brothers.
My big sister sighs—
knowing she, the principal left behind,
bears the weight
of pulling the family together
without the help of
the big brothers.
Over the years,
my big brothers have
challenged me and inspired me, 
directed me and redirected me,
frustrated me and led me,
provoked me and tormented me,
laughed at me and laughed with me,
accepted me and encouraged me,
consoled me and watched over me,
befriended me and defended me.
My big brothers listen,
and respect the ideas and insight 
of their little sister,
knowing they don’t have all the answers.
Making me
a better teacher
seeing the good in me,
meeting me where I am,
making me want
to find my best self,
balance home and work,
be the best teacher I can be,
treat all people with respect,
meet all children where they are.
These brothers of mine help me
navigatethe treacherous waters
as I tryto keep balanced
and staythe course.
Readingand responding  
to theverbosity in my emails and texts,
lettingme vent,
dealing with my brashness.
All the while patiently,
helping me through my struggle
to find my best self.
Still teachers, they help me learn— 
when to let go,  how to let go, 
and how to back down.
Like a lost little sister,
with my brothers going away to college
sometimes I find myself
deflated,with tears falling down my face,
wondering how I will find my way
without them here to guide me.
Maybe my best self,
will emerge and even apart,
they will still be a part of who I am
as a person and as a teacher
as I move forward.
I willlook back
and try to find a little bit
of them as I’ve seen them
when they find their best selves
encouraging like Barnabas,
as they motivated, challenged, and inspired
cultivating the best in others.
Even when they go,
their actions and words 
will resonate with me,
as I continue to try and find
my best self
under new leadership,
with new challenges, 
and with new obstacles.

16 thoughts on “My Big Brothers (Version 2-Revised)

  1. I'm sure they will always be a part of you, a whisper in your ear… you'll ask yourself, what would my "brother" say about this? What would he do about this? And that will be all you REALLY need. I wish you a great year come September!


  2. What a beautiful tribute! I wrote one for my sister a couple of times…I hope you share it with them..I'm sure they will treasure it as much as they treasure you!


  3. What a treasure this would be to them. You are lucky to have had them and they are lucky to know how much you value them. I hope you plan to share this with them! Thanks for sharing with us too!


  4. When you have the right leadership, you can grow. You were lucky to have two special men that helped you develop into a thoughtful teacher.


  5. How unusual and so wonderful that your brothers have loved children like you. Now it is your turn to mentor like they did with big listening ears. love nanc xo


  6. Oh, Maya, you are facing a major transition in your school and in your life! It may not be an easy transition, but I can tell by the hope in your poem that you will make it work. God may send you another brother or sister to pick up where they left off, and in our 'connected' world, you can still get in touch with these two advisors. They will be there for you when you really need them, I'll bet.


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