I was completely taken by surprise. Nothing like this had ever before. The fact that I didn't see it coming made it that much more special. I have clicked the word publish well over a hundred times before. Each time not really knowing what type of reaction I would receive. If any at all.
And then last week this tweet appeared in my Notifications:
Heidi Jones is someone who has been a part of my PLN for quite a while. I often tag her when I send out a new piece and she has always been way too kind in her responses. We have never met in person and until last week had never heard each others' voice.
But the power of Voxer was about to change all of that. I am on Voxer and with a tweet like the one above you just know I had to respond. I was able to locate Heidi on Voxer and sent a quick vox just letting her know that I was looking forward to hearing what she had to share. I honestly had no idea, but I was excited.
About an hour later she voxed me back and the story begins. Heidi explained to me about how she was moved by one of my recent pieces titled HUT and decided to share it with her class. I was touched beyond words. She told me how her class really enjoyed the piece and that they thought my son was cute. I couldn't argue with that.
Not only did she read it to her class, but she had them respond to it in writing.
No only did they respond to it in writing, but they each sent me a personal vox in which they told me how they could relate to the piece that I wrote.
I got to hear their voices!
Feel their emotions!
For someone who loves writing, this was incredible beyond belief!
My piece titled HUT was about a night that I played football with my son. It was about keeping my promise to my son. And it was a special moment that I will never forget.
Many of her students were able to relate and connect with having the opportunity to play with their parents.
That's so cool how you and your son were able to enjoy such an awesome night together and then you said he didn't care that it was a soccer ball. Orion
I can relate to the day my dad played football with me when it was pretty dark out, but we ended up having pretty much fun. Jude
I can relate to this because when I wanted to play basketball with my dad he said I will do it later. So then I go and ask him later and he said okay, let's play and I can tell that he liked it. Megan
I can relate because I'm basically taking the place of your son in a lot of situations. Austin
The same thing happened to me with softball...the best thing I think in your blog is how you play with your kids and you're so nice with them. Ashley
I've asked my dad to go on our trampoline before in the morning and when he came home from work it was too late but we still went out and had a lot of fun. Liam
Many times I've asked my parents to do they something but they didn't follow through until they're constantly reminded of their promise. Anya
I can relate because I always bother my mom to play football too. Bryan
You play with your son and daughter because you just want to make them happy. Chayse
One day my parents said they would take me to the park over the weekend ... the next day we went to the park. Sandy
It was a very powerful piece of writing because me and my dad also go outside sometimes to play. Dublin
Other students connected with my daughter looking for her Pop-Pop Jay Star. These students related either because they had lost family members or they were able to feel the emotion my daughter felt when she identified the star she connects with her grandfather she never got to meet.
I could relate when your daughter was looking at the stars and saw her grandpa that she never got to meet because I never got to meet my grandpa. April
It was very powerful like your daughter always finds the Pop-Pop Jay Star. Timothy
You included humor, passion and love. I especially like when write how your daughter has a Pop-Pop Jay Star and she can find it wherever she goes. Lauren
Another group of students either connected with the humor, with the beauty in shared moments or with the ability to relate on an emotional level. This is my ultimate goal in every piece that I write and to know that I was able to do so with 5th graders was especially rewarding.
I love your writing and the way you explained how your son was so excited to play football with you. I'm glad Mrs. Jones shared your blog with us. I can connect to it. Maddie
It feels nice when you are out on a warm spring night and it makes it feel warmer when you have family to share it with. Noah
My favorite part was the end when your son timed you to play HUT. Jade
One day my dad promised to play baseball with me and when he did I think it might have been one of the best nights of our lives. Ethan
Your blog makes a mini-movie in my mind. My favorite part is when you hide under the covers and pretend to sleep. Erika
My favorite part was when you shared how much you cared about your son. Even though I'm a fifth grader, I still know it's hard to pass up your four old son. Breanna
What an unbelievably powerful experience for someone who is self admittedly addicted to writing. I have been blogging for a couple of years, so I have had folks comment on my pieces before. And it is always an honor. But never before have I had something like this take place. All because of an amazing woman from Wisconsin named Heidi Jones.
She made my day.
She made my week.
She made my year.
And last but not least was this final response.
It is the kind of blog you are reminded of when something makes you smile. I have a little brother as well and when you talked about pretending to miss a tackle just to make your son laugh it reminded me of the countless smiles that my own dad gets out of my little brother for things like that. I am thankful for Mrs. Jones to read your blog to us because it reminds me to be grateful for the little things in life.
Children don't just write statements like the one above unless they feel loved. While my piece may have been a reminder for Grace, spending her days with Mrs. Jones and their wonderful classroom family was what elicited such a poignant response from someone so young. Heidi and her students have clearly created something beautiful in that room and I am touched that my words got to spend just a little time in their presence.