Michelle + Wesley | portraits

Michelle was my work BFF this year. She is just one of those people that you meet and instantly feel like you’ve known for a lot longer than you really have. She is absolutely adorable, and even when I was nine months pregnant and she was a size 2, people (okay, kindergarteners) continued to get us confused. Up until the end of the school year, teachers would accidentally mix our names up and the last week of school one student looked at me, dead serious, and said, “you know what? I really get you and the Spanish teacher confused.” I am the Spanish teacher.

When I decided not to return to face to face teaching, I was super sad to not be working with her (and the rest of my amazing team), because we had a really great thing going. It is rare to find a team of five that work well together and we really mesh super well. I was sad about leaving technology and after talking to her we realized that she would be the perfect person to keep teaching it! She’s young, energetic and super knowledgeable about technology, specifically, the way we use iPads in the classroom and I felt totally better about leaving knowing I’d still be in communication with her and she’d be able to carry the torch.

Then, she broke the news to me. She’d gotten a job. Her dream job, actually, in Florida as a band director. She’d always wanted to be a band director in a beach town and hates cold weather. Perfection. So, she and her super cute boyfriend were moving the week after school ends. I cried. 

Honestly, the whole technology class thing was far from my mind, I was super happy for them, but so bummed our work BFF-ness was short lived. Michelle is such a joy to be around, so genuine and kind, loving and she gets my jokes. She also invited me to go to Cross Fit with her and I did. I don’t do Cross Fit, but I did and barely made it out alive, but she cheered me on the whole time (in between her 200m sprints, weight lifting, squats and pull ups). She also had a habit of cheering me on with pretty much anything I was doing at work…pumping, planning a lesson, figuring out what I should do with my life (motherhood has sent me spiraling into a bit of an identity crisis)…anything. She was always telling me that I could do it! Even when I was 38 weeks pregnant with the flu, she was like “you can power through!” I in fact, could not, but she was so encouraging! 

The last Sunday in May we met for Sushi and then frolicked over to the art museum for some evening lovey fun musical pictures of her and her tall, skinny, IT, musical boyfriend Wesley, and for a professional looking headshot for her new school’s fancy website.  You know, one like this one. 
One of my favorite things about Michelle is her contagious spirit. Every year she picks something to do. In the past it has been sky-diving and this year it is Cross Fit. She also casually mentioned during our photo session that she modeled at one point in her life, and when asked what she does in the evenings she practices flute in her coat closet of her apartment so that she does not disturb her neighbors. She also has the most impressive repertoire of Halloween costumes I’ve ever seen, including a functioning gum ball machine. 
She also doesn’t drink caffeine, accidentally did one time, and forgot where she parked her car. This was when she had two cars and legitimately left work early one day because she thought her car had been stolen, but then remembered where it was. I thought this was the best story every and told pretty much anyone, and then realized that may have been a mean thing to do. She was so gracious and laughed at herself and we all celebrated when Wesley came back from Indiana and helped her remember where she put things like her keys, her glasses or her car. 

Michelle! Your new school is so lucky to have you. I am most certainly going to miss you and I guess we will just have to add West Palm Beach to our places to visit. Hope your new swanky condo has room for a pack-n-play! 

Sometimes in difficult seasons I question God’s goodness. And then he goes and gives me super wonderful friends like these. In my life, in every single season when I’ve needed reinforcements, he always sends me somebody. Adjusting to working motherhood then transitioning into working-from-home motherhood has been hard for me and there have been a lot of times where I just straight up did not believe in myself enough to get to work on time, much less thinking about having a career. Am I still a good teacher? Do I even like teaching? Can I work and be mom? Can I be good at all of it? I would legitimately have conversations with Michelle about these things and she was just so kind and encouraging. This is one of those handpicked moments where I realize that her decision to teach at my school, although not her dream job, put her in a place to teach me in this season of transition and uncertainty. God knew that more than anything, I needed someone to encourage me and to keep me motivated to dream big. She was that person for me. Over the moon grateful for this girl! We are so handpicked. 

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