Going the Extra Mile

 In Weekly Forum Discussion, Writer in Residence

I was going through a box filled with old school papers. Some of the papers belonged to my sister, and some were mine. A set of papers from the second grade stood out.

Mine read: My name is Collette, I am 7, for fun I like to ice stake.

My sister’s paper read: My name is Nicole, I am 7, for fun I like to do math!

I laughed. That was my sister. My sister loves math. When I look at numbers I see a road block. She looks at numbers and sees endless possibilities. It should be no surprise that she works with numbers. She does math everyday and loves it.

I struggled with math until junior high. Mr. Sanford was my math teacher. I would come in early and stay late trying to understand. I told him I couldn’t see the mathematical shapes. A few days later he came in with a board that had nails hammered into it and string. I wrapped the string around the nails to form the different geometrical shapes. He made it possible for me to see the mathematical shapes and to measure them. I came to understand math. I still don’t love it, but I sure appreciate Mr. Sanford for going the extra mile.

Today I am learning about who I am. I don’t have a school to go to. The place I am venturing to is my mind. Like any school it can seem scary at first, but it really is a fun adventure. Learning about who I am has given me many a-ha moments.

Once I got stuck in my garage.  The power went out.  I couldn’t open the garage door. My garage only had small windows. The size you could put your hand out and wave at the neighbors.  The only problem is I lived out in the country and had no neighbors. When the power went down so did my cell phone, the booster to keep the signal up was without power. I lived alone, no one would miss me. I started to panic.

I calmed myself down and begin to study the garage around me. I noticed an emergency release cord hanging from the garage door opener. I found a ladder and climbed up to that release. The release was tough and would not budge. I think I even swung from it at one point. I was very upset at myself. I started to mentally beat myself up. I quickly realized that was not helping anything. I climbed back up on that ladder and observed the mechanism. I saw a lever. Instead of pulling down on it, I pulled it back. The garage door was released. I jumped down off that ladder and lifted the garage door up to the ceiling. I was free. I shouted with joy. It was a scary five minutes, but I freed myself. I accomplished something I never thought I could do.

I am amazed at myself, how far I have come in less than a year. If I can make it through this process, anyone can.

Written by: Collette Cottingham; Guardian Angels

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