I had difficulty in high school. My grades were bad, I occasionally got into trouble and my report card was never released to me personally. Being a middle child, I had difficulties growing up. Among 6 siblings, I was the only one who needed a tutor.
I remember her name, what she looked like and how she cared for me. She sat with me in my bathroom patiently trying to teach me and help me with my homework and I would not cooperate. I would deliberately write incorrect answers in between sobs. I was angry. My mother kept me inside with doors closed until I finished homework. It was a shared bathroom connecting two bedrooms. Thank God it was huge! One could easily mistake it for a sitting room.
Stuck in the bathroom until past bedtime, I refused to listen to my tutor. I recall how she gently and patiently tried to make me see right from wrong. She would brush my hair to calm me and she would speak gently to me as if pleading so that she could call it a night and I could go to sleep.
The next day at school when it was time to hand over our assignments, I bit my tongue having realized that while I was asleep my tutor changed my incorrect answers to correct ones carefully trying to follow my childlike penmanship and saving me from another failing grade. I was relieved! Regretting my stubbornness I was grateful. She cared deeply and I felt her love for me. She never admitted changing my answers and I never asked. With her by my side, I felt safe.
I don’t recall what led to her returning to her home province and leaving me on my own but I do recall that I used to write her letters and she diligently wrote me back. She was so far away from home yet made time to correspond with me. How I wish I kept those letters!
That was my tutor. A human angel my mother hired who in her absence showed me love and gave me the attention I needed as a child.
More than correcting my mistakes, it’s her gentle stroke of my hair that brought me a sense of security. I felt validated. I was neither a failure nor a mistake.
Most of all, I was loved.