This is your birrrrthday song, it isn’t very long. The end.

Image may contain: 2 people, eyeglasses and drink

I call her ‘Manda.

I have a few students from the past who have remained in my life. Even though life has gone on and their lives are busy with careers and marriages and raising children, they still find a little bit of time for their old music teacher. Sometimes it’s a text message or an email – or it used to be a Facebook post. And on occasion, it is a phone call or an actual visit.

There was a small group of girls in my past teaching life who got to know me quite well, and ‘Manda was one of them.

Our worlds collided in a small town in Oklahoma inside a choir room, and over the years, we spent many, many hours laughing and solving all of the problems in my office or in the library, mixing issues with a box of Cheezits and an ice cold Dr. Pepper. Whether it was the topic of mean girls or cute boys, we could pass the hours and make them seem like minutes.

Shaniqua, ‘Nette, Sky, Karis, Mel Hoo Hoo, and ‘Manda Skye – they’ve all stayed in touch, and so many years later, I feel like these students who were like daughters to me, have become my friends. That doesn’t always happen. I could name MANY students who were very close and are very special to me, but there are a handful who have chosen to reach out, and that does an older, soft heart pretty good.

We laughed so hard we cried. We cried so hard we laughed. We prayed together, we sang together, we took road trips together, we watched seasons of Big Brother and The Bachelor and Survivor while eating tons of popcorn on my bed. I heard ENDLESS tales of boy woes and classroom drama…

I can still hear her giggle.

‘Manda Skye, if I were the dorm supper cook again, I’d bake you a cake. And I’d give you as much ranch dressing as you want. And if I were the choir teacher again, I would make you sing a solo. And if I were the librarian again, I’d let you skip class all the day long and eat Cheezits and M&Ms in the library. And if I were your piano teacher again, I’d give you stickers and candy even if you didn’t practice. I know. I did that already.

Happy birthday. I love you and I am so grateful that you chose to be my friend all these years later.

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