And so it happened again on Saturday.
I have been going to Weight Watchers for almost a full year. I hit my goal weight in October and made lifetime in November. When you hit lifetime, you only have to weigh in once a month. Even so, I go to the meetings and weigh in pretty much every single week. The accountability and consistency work for me.
My WW leader is a Stanford graduate in her early 50's, mother of two college-aged sons, a mountain biker. She's high energy, really funny, and really honest about her own weight loss struggles; we all laugh every week as she talks about the"snack-cidents" in her own life. Her strengths as a leader are evidenced by the number of people that roll out of bed to make it to her meetings every Saturday morning at 7:30. She's really good.
But she doesn't know my name.
The doors at Weight Watchers open half an hour before the meetings start. People stand in line (really long at this time of year), and wait to weigh-in. While we are waiting, the leader works her way down the line, greeting people, answering questions and making name tags.
Saturday I stood in line in front of a really nice guy named Josh. He usually comes with a baby and I commented that she wasn't with him today. He said she was sick. We made small talk-- his wife is a baker and he is currently surrounded by five kinds of cupcakes. I found out he's a teacher, working with high-risk high schoolers. And he posts killer recipes on the WW Facebook page.
And then the leader got to us.
Josh was standing behind me, but she made his name tag first.
And then she looked at me. And I knew what she couldn't remember my name.
"It's Carol," I said.
Most weeks she responds, "I should be able to remember that, my mom's name is Carol." And we both laugh.
Today I said it for her, "Just like your mom."
And she kind of laughed and wrote out my name tag and moved on.
And it's really not that big a deal.
But it kind of is.
I have been going faithfully for a whole year. I'm not a super verbal participant, but I show up and weigh in and sit through the 30-minute meeting pretty much every week. And my leader knows lots and lots of people's names, but after fifty weeks, and even though I share a name with her mom, she still doesn't know mine.
And it bothers me just a little bit. I wonder why I'm not memorable to her.
And I'm an adult, with a reasonably well-established sense of self. There are lots of other people in my life who do know my name and love me and take care of me.
But my WW leader doesn't know my name.
And the whole experience says something to me. I'm a literacy coach and interventionist. I work with about 400 kids a week. I've always made it a practice to know kids' names. To talk to them and to acknowledge them as human beings. But over the last couple of years it's gotten harder. I think my memory really isn't as good as it used to be.
But I need to keep working at it.
Because it matters.
Knowing kids' names really, really matters.