"The Noticer Project is a worldwide movement to "notice" the five most influential people in your life! Noticing those five people can be as private (just a letter or email) or as public (posting to your Facebook page or joining The Noticer Project Facebook group) as you choose, but the movement is meant to encourage us to step outside our busy schedules and avoid waiting until a wedding, graduation or even a funeral to take notice of the special, influential people in our lives. By noticing those who have made a difference for you, you not only acknowledge their contribution, but you may gain a new perspective on your own journey. If you are noticed, you are encouraged to continue the movement by 'noticing' five people in your life!"
Okay, I'm game. But seriously, am I only limited to five individuals?
- Mrs. Elaine Nutt: One of the most intimidating teachers at Rosary High School, she was famous for busting anyone with chewing gum as well as for being a tough math teacher. I was terrified of her. Then, I ended up having her for not one, but TWO periods in tenth grade. She challenged the heck out of me in Geometry, and made me fall in love with the subject. I still can't fathom why anyone doesn't adore doing proofs or can't recall when to use ASA...she made it like breathing for me. Mrs. Nutt was also my teacher for Western Civilization that year. I know she was forced to take that extra period, and was probably not happy about it, but she did a fabulous job. She made me feel smart, and her encouragement and structure helped me learn confidence and responsibility in my schooling.
- Uyen Nguyen: This amazing woman moved in with my family when I was about 5 years old. She was a refugee from Vietnam, and she had lost everything. Uyen was educated, beautiful, and classy as hell. I can't even begin to imagine all she went through on the journey that led to her staying for almost two years in our guest room. I only saw her cry once the whole time she stayed with us. She was a rock. I adored her delicious cha giao and the elegant ao dais she wore. To this day she remains, in my mind, the ultimate example of a true lady.
- Arlington E. "Dick" Whitman: My Pop-Pop. Probably the one grandparent I was closest to, but ironically the only one not related to me by blood. Dick Whitman was my mom's stepfather, and had been married to my grandma when my mom was in her early teens. He was the most stabilizing influence in my mom's life, and later became a similarly steadying influence in mine. He was generous to a fault, hardworking, and funny as can be. I loved every minute he spent with us when I was growing up. I am so glad he lived long enough to be at my wedding, and to hold my firstborn child. I miss him like crazy.
- Matthew Moreno: My evil twin. Matt proved himself a true friend my last year of college. He fed me, kept me laughing, allowed me to hide my car at his place, and never passed judgment, even when he knew I was dating a serious loser. I was trying desperately to finish school before tuition hikes the next fall, taking double-overtime course loads (24-26 units a term...crazy), and had no time for a job. My dad was great about putting money on my meal card for the dining hall, but the money didn't always last through the month, and I hated asking for more. There were many times Matt would call when I had not eaten that day. The conversation often sounded something like this: (Matt) "What are you doing?" (Me) "Oh, studying..." (Matt) "Did you have dinner already?" (Me) "Umm, yeah sure, you know, went to the cafeteria..." (Matt) "Bullshit. Come over. I'm making chorizo and eggs. You can study here." Matt never mentioned the fact that his grocery bill had to have been a good 20% higher as a result of keeping me fed that year. He also never got on my case about the fact that I'd racked up so many parking tickets on campus that I couldn't park my car at the dorm for fear of it being booted. He just told me to park it at his place. No judgment. Finally, to this day I have no idea how he kept his mouth shut about the fact that my then-boyfriend was a huge dud. Matt demonstrated the meaning of true friendship with no strings attached. He is still one of the few people I trust without question, and know that if I called on him for anything, he'd be there in an instant.
- My husband: He's put up with me for over a decade. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that's a herculean accomplishment in itself. He's an awesome father and a patient, supportive spouse. I am a lucky girl.