I always feel like I should begin with some kind of salutation, almost as if I am writing a letter here. Just doesn’t feel right to jump in without saying hi, first.
You might remember back in February I wrote a post for The Blended Blog’s “The Look of Love” series. I added the post here on my personal blog, too. It was the first in a couple of posts I hope to write about two very special girls in my life who both happen to be named Jenny.
Today’s post is an update to the first one written almost two months ago.
You can read the original post here.
After I wrote the first “The Tale of Two Jennys” post, I decided to try to find Jenny again. Each time I had an opportunity to substitute in one of the school district’s libraries over the past two years, I would try to locate Jenny’s daughter Daisy in the circulation database. It has the names of all of the children enrolled in the El Paso Independent School District, along with the name of the school where they are registered, and sometimes even the address and home phone number.
I had never found Daisy.
Since I have been at Guerrero, where I have subbed in the library since October, I have looked for Daisy in the database at least once or twice but didn’t find her name.
Imagine my surprise when, the day after writing “The Tale of Two Jennys”, I decided to look for Daisy again and there was a match. At least there was a Daisy Casas in the database this time.
First thing I did was calculate what grade my Daisy would be in, provided she hadn’t been held back.
This Daisy is in fifth grade.
I could tell by looking at this record that Daisy had just re-enrolled into an EPISD school because the record had been partially updated from when she was in fourth grade the year before but she had changed schools and possibly school districts sometime during fourth grade.
Then I looked at the school code: 104. I wasn’t sure which school that represented so I had to look it up.
Beall Elementary School in the Segundo Barrio section of downtown El Paso.
The Segundo Barrio was the second poorest zip code in the United States when I first moved to El Paso. I am pretty certain it isn’t much more prosperous now.
I hesitated for a moment, thinking back on what I remembered about the first time Jenny and her brothers and sisters disappeared from my life. They had moved to the Segundo Barrio with their grandmother.
I was getting excited and nervous.
I hesitated just a moment, took a deep breath wrote this email to the librarian at Beall Elementary. I briefly explained that I was looking to reconnect with a former student and her mother. I told her that I thought the Daisy Casas enrolled at her school was the little girl I was looking for. I asked if Mary could speak with Daisy to see if she had once attended Moye, the elementary school where I had worked when I lost contact with Daisy and Jenny. I asked her to check if Daisy’s mother’s name was Jennifer.
Mary was so kind to do a little investigating for me.
I don’t know Mary well so in the hopes of not looking too pedophile-ish or creepy, I shared the link with her to the post I had written for The Blended Blog the day before.
I thought maybe it would reassure her that my intentions were pure!
Just in case.
The next day, Mary wrote back to say that she had talked with Daisy and her mother’s name was Jennifer. In addition to having gone to Moye, Daisy had also been in two schools in a neighboring school district.
Four schools in five years.
Mary confirmed my hopes.
I had found my Daisy.
I asked if I could send a card to Daisy and Jenny.
Mary said I could send it over.
Then life got in the way.
And I got kind of scared, a little bitty bit, too.
Mary didn’t seem to think I was a stalker but what if Daisy and Jenny did? What if they didn’t really want to reconnect with me? I felt a little like an adopted child seeking her birth mother.
I bought a card with a cute little puppy dog on the front and carried it around in my purse for a week or so. I wasn’t sure what to write. Did I need to reintroduce myself to Daisy? After all, she was only five or six when I last saw her. She had been very shy and had just begun to warm up to me before she disappeared from school.
I knew Jenny would know who I was – except there’s the difference in my last name now. When she knew me as a little girl, my last name was Hilverding. Yeah. I was married to the girls’ step-father.
The kids at school called me Mrs. H.
Then when Jenny and I reconnected at the School Age Parent Center, I was divorced from Mr. H. and had returned to my maiden name, Roberts.
I was Ms. Roberts.
Four years later, I married my PC but the kids at Moye had known me as Ms. Roberts for several years so I just stuck with that even though I was legally Mrs. Clingan. The last names Hilverding and Clingan, although good German names, aren’t easily pronounced in El Paso.
I didn’t know how to sign my card if I could even get up the courage to write it.
Spring break was coming up anyway, so I decided to wait until after spring break.
I finally just wrote a short note that explained that I thought of Jenny and Daisy often and had wondered where they were. I was excited to find Daisy’s name in the district database and wanted to just say hello, to see how they were doing.
On March 15, I sent the card through the school mail to Beall Elementary for Mary to deliver to Daisy.
And then I waited.
And I waited.
I didn’t hear anything back.
Nothing from Jenny or Daisy.
Nothing from Mary.
Finally, I emailed Mary again (can you say pushy broad?). I had to know if Mary had gotten the card, if she had given it to Daisy, if Daisy had said anything when she got it…
if there was any hope that I might hear something back.
I waited (impatiently) for two weeks and then I wrote Mary asking if she had received the card…she had. Mary said that Daisy/Jenny were finalizing a letter back to me and that she would mail it as soon as Daisy gave it to her.
On April 4, Mary wrote to say that she had mailed their note to me in the school mail.
Two days later, on my birthday, I received this:
What a fabulous birthday present!
I caught my breath for a few days and then, today, I texted Jennifer.
And she answered.
We texted back and forth for an hour. She kept me company in the doctor’s office (PC has the flu and the doctor wanted to put me on Tami-flu, just in case).
Daisy even texted me on her cell phone.
And Jenny sent pictures.
Daisy is the oldest and she is 10, then Destiny in the orange tee is 7, Geovanna in pink is 6 and Mario in red, whom I haven’t met YET, is 3. Daisy looks just like she did when I last saw her five years ago.
And here is my Jenny.
I see that little third grader in her face.
That little girl who was always a fighter.
And a wonderful mom.
So, we have plans to get together in May…the zoo and a picnic.
Jenny saved my phone number and so did Daisy.
Here’s to happy endings and new beginnings (again).
Happy birthday to me.
Hugs and kisses,