Ah, the last week of school.
Am I excited for summer? Yep! Absolutely! I won’t have to wake my sleeping little children up and race out of the house to make it to daycare and then to a 7:30 meeting. I won’t have to race all day and then come home too tired to make dinner or play with my kids. I’ll get to be a stay-at-home mom for a few months. I might get to read a few books!
Oh, and I’ll get to go to the bathroom whenever I need to! There will be swimming and piano lessons and sun and day trips, and picnics in the park.
But…when the end of the school year finally comes, my emotions start to turn into waves. They go way high up there, “Woohoo! I can stay up past 9:30 p.m.!” and then way down there, “But, what about (insert kid’s name)? Will he have enough to eat? And I know (insert kid’s name) isn’t going to read a single book this summer. And will (insert kid’s name) be able to get to his dad’s house to go fishing? Because that’s what he wants the most!”
Today, a boy I have in class was walking past me in the hall on the way to pick up his milk carton, and then he turned, walked right up to me, unsolicited, and gave me a giant hug. Usually I have time to do a “side” hug (I don’t need to end up on a Lifetime Movie, yo), or a quick pat on the shoulder, but he HUGGED me. It was a bear hug. And then he looked up at me and said, “I wish you were my mom.”
I just…I can’t even explain how that feels. To know that this little boy loves me so much and I know that he’s hugging me because I’ve made some kind of a difference in his life and he is sad that school is ending.
The thing is…this isn’t the first time I’ve been told this. And, really, I usually think, “Well, kid, you don’t even know what it’s like to live with me at home, you actually get a better me than my kids do!”
It really makes me wonder. I stay much more calm at school with my school kids than I do with my own kids. I have more patience. I am probably even a lot more fun, and I’m definitely funnier. They probably really do get a better me than my own kids do, if we’re talking about personality and patience.
I know that it’s easy for me to guess and say things like, “Ugh, his mom must not let him know that she loves him. His mom must forget to say I love you. His mom must….”
But, you guys, I don’t know that. He might not be saying that he wishes for me as a mom because his mom is bad. It could just be his way of saying, “You mean something to me.” I mean, if one of my children told their teacher that, or someone else, I would definitely NOT want to know, because it would kill me on the inside. Well, maybe not kill me, but it would make me feel sad, I’m sure.
It just really makes me think: about my job and my responsibilities, and about my job as a mom, and about the pressure of trying to do it all the right way.
The pressure is intense. As my own children get older, I have had to stop doing so much school work at home. And since I don’t really have time to do it at school either, it just doesn’t get done. Gone are the days of homemade treats for my students with cute little sayings, or home-made games that I cut out myself. Gone are the lengthy, lengthy comments I’d make on their work, and so many of the positive e-mails I used to send home.
It’s as though one thing has to give for the other to get. And when the boy said, “I wish you were my mom,” I wondered…have I let the mom part slip again? How can I do this all the right way? Who am I letting down?
On one hand, I’m so glad to be home with my babies (who are 6 and 4, but I still call them babies), but I feel the let-down of the kids at school that depend on me. They depend on me (us) for so much! Some of them, no, most of them will have a GREAT summer full of fun and laughter and memories. And some will….not.
Some will be lonely, and bored, and hungry. And maybe even worse.
So, there I’ll be, on the last day as we line up and wave good-bye to the buses, with tears streaming down my face because it’s another year that has slipped by me. Another year where I just wonder, “Did I give it my best?”
But here’s the thing:
The answer to that has to be a resounding yes. Yes, I gave it my best. Yes, I’m writing this blog post, but my kids are right in front of me, playing in the fresh air. They are happy . They are loved. My students know I would do anything for them and I tried to give them the best year possible. I’ve got to go with this, and move forward, because there is no sense in standing here beating myself up about it.
We’ve got this, you guys.
Give yourself a resounding yes.