Have you ever thought you knew someone fairly well, and then learned something about him or her that made you realize you didn't after all? My church in Rio Grande City had a special event called "Talents Sunday" once a year. Everyone who wanted to participate could bring in something that represented a talent s/he had. One year, I noticed an old baseball glove on the table, and wondered who it belonged to. I later discovered that it belonged to my elderly friend, Mr. S...and it turns out that he played professional baseball after college and before returning to the Valley to run his family's onion farm! I didn't think I knew him inside and out, but I had been to have Thanksgiving dinner with his family before, so I had seen the inside of their house a few times, and never noticed anything dedicated to his career as a professional athlete. What a surprise!
When I was a child, my friend and I would visit her elderly neighbor who lived across the alley behind her house every time I went over to play with her. He recently passed away, and my mom sent me his obituary. While reading that, I learned that he was the lead scientist on the team that developed the first birth control pills. Whoa--talk about a major scientific advancement.
My last prominent example of when you learn something really surprising about someone comes from my own family. My maternal grandmother had tons of photos from when she was a child, and my sister and I were organizing them into albums for her one summer. Even though the photos were in black and white, I noticed that some of them seemed to have lush, tropical-seeming backdrops. I asked her where they were taken, and she responded, "Costa Rica." I asked, "Oh did you go on vacation there?" She replied, "No, I used to live there." Ummm...news to me! How did I not know that before college?! Anyway, that's definitely what got me started thinking about spending a lot of time in Costa Rica, which ultimately resulted in my decision to move there years later.
I share these stories because I think it's interesting how we can always learn more about the people we know--and sometimes, we can learn really BIG things about them. Everyone has stories saved up, and I really enjoy discovering those stories that aren't immediately obvious. Even children who haven't lived for as long can have lots of stories about their lives. I've realized that for all the time I spend with my kiddos, and all the stories they have shared with me (you hear a lot over the course of a 10-hour school day!), I'm sure they have thousands of other stories that I know nothing about.