Humans of Calvert County, Sarah Merranko & Anita Santoyo

“When I was young, I was such a mama’s girl. I didn’t want to go to school because I didn’t want to leave her! And I remember when my mom died, sitting there thinking, okay so what’s this all about? We’re here, the stuff that she thought was important is here, but she’s not here. It’s got to be a lot more than stuff. I think that’s when I did a lot of soul searching and thinking….if it’s stuff, we leave the stuff. What is it? What is it really?

I really believe I’ve been gifted with the parents I had because they trained me to be good to other people and taught me to be who I am.

My dad was very positive and very very involved in my life. I miss him a lot. He was just always there, always so giving and kind, always so great. His word was ‘Did you do your best?’ Yes dad I did. ‘Well then you have nothing to worry about.’

My parents didn’t graduate high-school, so when I told them I wanted to go to college, they wept.

Forty years I’ve worked as a speech language pathologist now. And I say it all the time, I am getting more from them than they are getting from me.

People take them as an outer shell that’s damaged or just not good enough, or pretty enough, or smart enough. But if you look inside of them, you see people like every other person , who have needs, who have desires, who get angry because maybe their desires are not understood.

They all have communication problems. Many of them are visually impaired children, we have hearing impaired children or intellectually delayed. Maybe they’re not verbal, or maybe they’re partially verbal. Maybe they’re using just picture symbols. Maybe they’re signing. It doesn’t matter. they can aIl communicate

I feel like I’m an intermediary. The goal for each one of my students is for their parents to understand how they communicate.

I guess innately, I learned to look at the tiny steps. The tiny tiny steps. Because maybe they can now say ‘I love you’ to mom or dad when they really never ever got to say that before.

I’m telling you, it’s awesome! It’s important to me. When I’m there, I feel like I’m flying! It’s just crazy! It’s just crazy!

So what’s it all really about? When my mom died, that’s when I think I figured what it was all about. It’s God. It’s just God. He’s orchestrating all of this. He’s putting us in situations where we have to make decisions. Do we act this way towards someone or do we act that way towards someone? What would God have me do?

Faith. You got to look outside of yourself. Because who we are, we’re just human beings. Faith. And realizing there’s a purpose.

We can learn. You can learn something from somebody else whether they are a medical doctor or they’re a homeless person. You can learn from everyone if you accept them for who they are and don’t judge. It’s really not our place to judge. Ever.”

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...