One of the things that I love about my job is that my busiest time is when the kids are out of school for summer vacation. Sometimes, when I'm walking along with my mosquito dipper, a curious kid will catch sight of me, and stop to ask me what I'm doing. And I love to show them. As we crouch over a dipper of water, they listen as I explain what they're seeing. Never once have I had a kid who was not enthralled by this. Never. I always have extra plastic pipettes in my truck to hand out to kids. There are a few who become so interested that they recognize my truck, and come charging over excitedly to tell me about what they've seen. For them, I tend to collect stuff. When I see interesting things along the way, I pick them up. A blue jay feather, or an interesting leaf, or a four leaf clover pressed in my log book. I always make sure that I have something to show them, and stories to tell them. This is a small detail of my job that brings me immense satisfaction.
My children are all grown up now, and the thing that I regret the most is that when they were young, I felt as if I had nothing to offer them. Their father had a master's degree. By the time that he had gotten that degree, he had decided that he had married 'beneath himself' and that our marriage was a regrettable mistake. I cannot tell when I began to believe that I was a stupid woman, but by the time our marriage blew up, I was convinced of it. I have such an easy raport with kids now. I teach Sunday School. I banter with the kids I meet as I travel around the county. I listen to them, and they are excited to see me. I guess that it's one of those things that you learn along life's way: that every person has something to impart to the next generation.
I wish that I had known this when my own were still with me. I wish that I had been less ashamed of myself and my perceived deficiencies. It is one of the few regrets that I have in this life.