Ann just came into my classroom. "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!" she exclaimed as she walked down my room's hallway, her hands palm-to-palm together. "Mike was so excited after you worked with him. It was like night and day the difference in that kid. He went from being so nervous and frantic to happy and excited to do it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
"You're quite welcome," I said standing up and crossing around my desk. "It was fun to work with him - he's got a lot of good instincts."
"He feels so much better now!" Ann continued, almost brushing off my compliments to her son. "He kept going on and on about how he just needed direction, he needed to be told what to do."
I smiled, "Yeah. People often think that acting - that theater - is all the same set of skills. But you know that from your music-playing! Just because you play the trumpet doesn't mean you can conduct."
"True!" she agreed. She continued as I walked her back to her classroom, "And he raved about how great you were. He said the direction you gave was so good and so helpful. He feels so much better about it now! And he said to me, 'Mom,' he said, 'do you know what the best part was?'" Ann looked at me expectantly, imitating her son (she's quite the actress, too). I raised an eyebrow in return. "He said, 'The whole time she's giving direction, she's smiling this... this smile. You're doing the piece and you look up and she's smiling at you and you think, 'I can do this. I can be better for her.''"
"Oh!" my breath quietly caught, my hand instinctively went to my heart. Ann buzzed back to class, and I turned back to my room still astounded by that compliment. Those words would mean a lot to me anytime; but this week, now, in the midst of a really hard fight for my own self-esteem - those words are a lifeline.