Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Big Brothers (Version 2-Revised)

My BigBrothers

For Joel & Glenn

I borrowhis good stapler,
“Keepit, he says,
“I won’tneed it when I go.”
He knowsthe value
ofsharing what works
underthis roof.

Packingand stacking boxes
my otherbrother
pauseslooking through
theyearbooks--we laugh
and sharestories
of thetimes we’ve left behind.
He, nolonger a fixture,
closesthe book—leaving
hisshelves empty and forlorn.

Soon theywill both be gone;
these twoprincipals leaving me
like bigbrothers
off tocollege.
Neithermerely a boss,
principal,colleague, or authority.

Off toface new challenges,
leavingus, the family,
missingour big brothers.
My bigsister sighs—
knowingshe, the principal left behind,
bears theweight
ofpulling the family together
withoutthe help of
the bigbrothers.

Over theyears,
my bigbrothers have
challengedme and inspired me, 
directedme and redirected me,
frustratedme and led me,
provokedme and tormented me,
laughedat me and laughed with me,
acceptedme and encouraged me,
consoledme and watched over me,
befriendedme and defended me.

My bigbrothers listen,
andrespect the ideas and insight 
of theirlittle sister,
knowingthey don't have all the answers.

Making me
a betterteacher
seeingthe good in me,
meetingme where I am,
making mewant
to findmy best self,
balancehome and work,
be thebest teacher I can be,
treat allpeople with respect,
meet allchildren 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,
dealingwith my brashness.
All thewhile patiently,
helpingme through my struggle
to findmy best self.
Stillteachers, they help me learn— 
when tolet go,  how to let go, 
and howto back down.

Like alost little sister,
with mybrothers going away to college
sometimesI find myself
deflated,with tears falling down my face,
wonderinghow I will find my way
withoutthem here to guide me.

Maybe mybest self,
willemerge and even apart,
they willstill be a part of who I am
as aperson and as a teacher
as I moveforward.

I willlook back
and tryto find a little bit
of themas I’ve seen them
when theyfind their best selves
encouraginglike Barnabas,
as theymotivated, challenged, and inspired
cultivatingthe best in others.

Even whenthey go,
theiractions and words 
willresonate with me,
as Icontinue to try and find
my bestself
under newleadership,
with newchallenges, 
and with newobstacles.


  1. Brothers are the best - I have two who mean the world to me, so this poem really resonated. Well done!

  2. Beautiful & so nostalgic, Maya. My brother is so special to me & I don't get to see him enough (he's in another state). Thank you for expressing what we all might write.

  3. 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!

    1. Donna, thanks for your encouragement to help me look forward.

  4. This is beautiful. You captured very complex emotions. You are lucky to have ones you love so much.

  5. This was filled with lovely imagery and well chosen lines. I like the structure of it, and I love the emotions you clearly and elegantly express.

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

    1. I did share this with them. I know they appreciate me, and I wanted to be sure they knew how much I have appreciated them.

  8. 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.

    1. Elsie, you always say so much in so few words. Thanks for your wisdom and encouragement.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

    1. Jama, you are so right. Thanks for the encouragement.

  11. The same way you held that stone and considered all its angles and possibilities, you have done the same with your brothers and your relationship with them.

    1. Thank you. That's a nice way of looking at it.


Thanks for reading my writing and sharing your thoughts with me.