And when she learned to read,
a whole new world opened before her eyes.
Long before Madison was old enough to go to school,
she was wishing and longing and waiting to go.
Her number one priority in life
was to learn to read, books were waiting,
stories hidden on the pages, anticipated.
Kindergarten was so exciting.
She would come home in the afternoon
and chatter until bedtime about everything she had learned.
She told of numbers and letters, what Jenson did,
what Delanie said, and what Carolyn had told them to do.
She was going to learn to read.
First grade was all she ever wished for.
Miss Lois kept everyone entertained.
There were object lessons, recess, green eggs and ham,
eggs to hatch, and chickens to carry home.
Best of all, she finally learned to read.
She read little books and big books,
skinny books, fat books, funny books,
and books that were over her head.
She read to her siblings
and told long drawn out book stories to her parents.
She read inside, curled up on the chair,
and outside on the swing.
She sneakily read while she folded laundry,
and of course, late at night in bed.
She had learned to read
and a whole new world had opened up before her.
Leaving Miss Lois’ room was cause for tears.
She was sure there would never be a teacher
she loved as much or could teach so well.
But Miss Brit swept in and taught with passion
and Madison fell in love again.
Those years of school flew by,
full of fun, good memories, and laughter.
There were creative writing lessons
that lit a fire in Madison.
She poured her all into her stories,
spinning tales for her teacher’s pleasure.
A substitute teacher was long remembered
for his mud ball fights and a water hose.
Once upon a time, she tangled with a cousin
in a sprawling, scrapping fistfight.
There were art classes, long walks in the fall,
and a painted paper dragon to walk around.
Many times, Miss Brit took Madison under her wing,
listened, consoled, and guided her.
All the while, Madison read on.
She read everything in the school library,
asking for books on shelves for older kids.
She lapped up everything from the public library,
soaking in the words, pouring over them,
reading and rereading the best.
When engrossed in a book,
nothing phased her, nothing was seen or heard,
she was completely oblivious to the world around.
In 6th grade Madison moved on to Alan’s room,
merely quaking at the thought.
She remembered times from years past
when she sneakily traded jobs to avoid
having to go into his room.
And now, here she was,
about to spend the rest of her school years
under his tutorage, sure that none
could match so great a teacher as Miss Britt.
Words from older and wiser ones
told her Alan’s teaching could not be compared.
In no time at all, he had put her fears at ease,
and once again, she was sure she was
being taught by the best.
Social life was her favorite pastime,
all her spare minutes were wrapped up with friends.
Sleepovers with Audrey and the girls,
paired in groups for a Science Fair,
or battling it out in a water fight.
School plays each year were a highlight,
practice days always led to good times.
She loved Talktionary in the mornings
or a softball game at recess,
and slowly she improved in volleyball.
There were Honor rolls and field trips,
bus rides, and squashed into vans,
laughing, talking, and having a good time.
Along with reading,
she took up a baking hobby.
There were cakes, muffins, cookies,
and pastries of the likes her family could not name.
There were fails and flops,
but she persevered and soon turned things
into delectable desserts.
When it was too much to eat at home,
she carried it along to school
to feed her classmates.
If there was food involved in a Science Fair,
Madison was usually volunteering.
Food from Israel, an Ohio State cookie,
and even a cake like a heart.
High school brought new challenges,
always something new to learn.
Algebra was a test of her good spirit,
the dreaded math equations seemed to best her every time.
Biology was a favorite with many good times in class.
Instead of digging right into cellular structure,
they started with a joke from each of the three,
waiting to see who would laugh first.
Class time often involved iced coffees
and lots of snacks to power through.
Chemistry stretched her brain
and tried her smarts, but she prevailed
and enjoyed her time in that book.
Since reading was such a key factor in her life,
it surely meant others liked to read just as well.
Books and more books were stuffed into her bag
and toted along to school.
“Have you read this one? You should read that one.”
was her encouraging way of passing on her love of words.
Soon her locker library held nothing but books.
She would wheel and deal,
passing out new ones and collecting the returned.
She acquired a small bookshelf from a cousin,
built just to fit her locker,
to help run her budding librarian career.
When it seemed all books were exhausted, still she read on.
She gathered information, stored it in her brain,
spewed knowledge to her family’s bewilderment,
while still reading and learning more.
She studied medical textbooks,
read fiction, biographies, poems,
and retained copious amounts of knowledge.
She read her Bible, dug in and studied,
changed, grew, and loved Jesus more.
Her soft spirit portrayed what she read
was abiding in her heart.
Life took a turn for Madison
and her last year of school was not
all she had dreamed of.
Plagued with health issues,
she missed a lot of activities,
spent most of her hours sleeping or studying ,
while still trying to make the most
of her time left in school.
In the Spring she waved good-bye to classmates,
excited for plans of Spring break,
never knowing she was leaving school for the last time.
Plans disrupted, schedules changed,
quarantined at home, and home school with Mom,
the schoolroom was left behind, quiet and empty.
She was disappointed, there was so much missed,
yet through it all, her cheerful attitude prevailed,
and still she smiled.
She bent to her task, read and studied,
and pulled up her grades,
never giving in to the challenges before her.
Madison, as you graduate
and leave your school years behind,
keep your smiling, cheerful attitude,
and continue fighting for the underdog.
Don’t quit reading, studying, and learning,
always strive to grow and mature, especially in Jesus.
Never give up, cultivate your soft heart,
reach out to Jesus, lean on his strength,
and no matter what life brings your way,
with Him, you will prevail.