One special day (thanks to my kids)

It’s been a difficult couple of days.  Hadn’t spoken to mom in about a week or so.  She had been in the hospital for about ten days and she hasn’t had any energies to be able to talk over the phone.  (If this is the 1st post of mine you read, my mom was diagnosed with Lung Cancer two months ago). And so yesterday I finally did.  Yesterday she finally got to go home. Yesterday I was finally able to hear her voice. My heart literally broke into pieces. She was barely able to say three words on the phone.  Her voice sounded like she would barely make it through the day. It was then when I decided I needed to be home (El Salvador) no matter what. We teachers worry about so much in our classrooms.  So many little details that go into each lesson. Falling behind in the curriculum, activities that can’t be done by a sub. Thinking about having to ask people favor after favor. The stress that comes with the planning that needs to be left in place for our absences is so stressful.  But, I need to get over it. I need to be ok with the fact that right now all that matters is being home.

And so today, I was on my phone every second.  Kids, they notice everything. One girl asked me today, “Ms.  why are you on the phone so much?” I felt so guilty, she had all the right to ask.  I was half present and half absent. She had all the right to ask. They know my mom is sick, so I didn’t doubt  for a second to be honest. And so I told them “Sorry, I know this is not usual of me, but my mom is sick, really sick.”  My eyes immediately filled with tears (which these days is not unusual. I’m a mess trying to keep it together). I had never though cried like this infront of my kids.  They had never seen me, and probably no other teacher, cry like I did today. So genuinely, so humanly. Their faces dropped. Some were so shaken, I could tell they didn’t know what to do.  But as I tried to act normal again, resume the class, one by one they came up to me, gave me a hug, brought tissues and genuinely showed empathy. It was one of those moments were it’s ok for the curriculum to go out the window.  Luckliy it was 10 minutes until their Spanish class. So I dropped them there, headed to my Grade Level team meeting, trying my best to act as if nothing had happened. The day went on, picked my kids up from recess and as I came back to class with them, I got to my desk.  There on my desk were a few pictures from the student I would’ve least expected. He had given me some of the drawings he had been working on during Quiet Time with a post it note that said “Ms. I’m sorry for what’s happening with your mom.”. The rest of the day was kids writing little notes to surprise me with.

Today, even though it has been a difficult day, it was one of the best days of this school year.  Nothing can replace the human connection I had with my students. At first I felt weird, weird to have been so personal and open with them. I felt guilty,  guilty for not have given them my undivided attention. But I also felt loved, loved by my students. I also felt cared for and understood by them (which doesn’t happen very often).  Today, amid of all the sadness and the pain, there was also so much love and kindness. It was a good day.

3 thoughts on “One special day (thanks to my kids)

  1. I cried reading this. You are very strong for showing that to your kids. They can surprise us with their empathy sometimes. Give yourself permission to do what you need to do and go home to your family. That is where you need to be. Please reach out if you need anything at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so beautiful. These are the moments that make us love teaching. Your decision on having to go home, although difficult, was necessary. As teachers, I think we train ourselves to want August-May to go smoothly, no interruptions, no unexpected events. Interruptions can come in the winter, spring or summer breaks. The reason, as you mentioned above, is that any unexpected event causes chaos in our little classroom world, and as teachers who place so much priority and importance on these little ones, we don’t want to disrupt their world. However, life is exactly that: learning to deal with the unexpected. Learning to persevere and move forward. So remember, no matter what lesson plans you are working on for while you are gone, you are already teaching them the most valuable lesson of all: family comes first.


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