Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Fond Memory of Vienna's Mayor Jane Seeman

Mayor Seeman passed away on February 24, 2013.
This piece was printed shortly afterward in the Body Grace's March newsletter.

Miss Jane was Nicole’s, my oldest daughter’s, first preschool teacher at the Vienna Community Center. I had just given birth to my second daughter, Allison, in the fall of 1988 and Nicole started attending shortly before then; she was 2-1/2 years old.

Nicole loved wearing dresses. One hectic morning she picked out a red jumper that my mom had made for her, a white blouse, cute frilly white socks and her black patent leather Mary Jane shoes, and off we went to drop her off at preschool. As always Miss Jane was there to welcome everyone at the door so I dropped Nicole off and came home looking forward to putting Allison and me down for a nap, but as I walked by Nicole’s bedroom door I noticed something sitting on her bed. What I found, after further inspection, was her underpants. Yes, I had just sent my fancy dressed daughter to preschool commando style!

Mortified, I frantically grabbed Nicole’s underpants, placed Allison back into her car seat, and drove back to the community center.  I peeked in the window on the preschool door, caught Miss Jane’s eye and waved for her to come out.  Once she stepped out into the hallway, I told her how embarrassed I was to have sent Nicole to school without the proper undergarments, and in a down-to-earth, non-judgmental way this is what she said to me: “You know Mrs. Crerie, Nicole was really distressed at the beginning of class and when I asked her what the problem was, she told me that her Mommy had forgotten to put underpants on her. I told her I would give you a call to bring some to her, and that sometimes Mommies forget things, especially when there is a new baby in the house, but in the meantime, until you could get here, to just keep her legs together.” I smiled – how could you not – nodded, thanked her for calming Nicole down, and her good advice. When I glanced into the room, sure enough, while all the other kids were sitting crossed-legged in their share circle, Nicole was sitting very calmly with her legs straight out, glued shut. I took Nicole to the restroom, put on her underpants, and I apologized to her for my forgetfulness, as well as for any future issues I may have caused, which at the time she probably did not understand.  To this day Nicole has very fond memories of being in Miss Jane’s preschool class for two years. Yes, she does remember being distaught about not having underpants on, however she did forgive me, and I can attribute that to the sweet way in which Miss Jane handled the situation.

Fast forward twenty something years later and as I am unlocking the studio door one afternoon, Mayor Jane drives up to drop off her granddaughter for a teen yoga class. We chatted for a moment and she asked about my daughters, which I was so impressed by. I told her that Nicole is a mom now, and we both agreed that time flies by too quickly but that being a grandparent is wonderful! Jane asked me how my business was doing. She truly cared about the success of the small businesses in the community, and I for one, appreciated that. I will miss Jane Seeman. She loved Vienna, and it showed. When I think of her, I will not only think of Mayor Jane Seeman, a woman who believed in a strong community, but I will also fondly remember Miss Jane, a caring, kind and compassionate preschool teacher, who helped a little girl and a young mother through an awkward situation.