There’s a constant struggle inside of me.
The mom versus the teacher, taking care of my own kids or someone else’s. Getting these papers graded with constructive comments so that 93 students can become better writers or playing outside on the swing set with my two little girls.
Sometimes other kids come before my own.
Ellie went back to school this week and I missed it because I was at work. At the exact moment she was being dropped off, I was discussing the importance of setting to a story. I know what I was doing because I was watching the clock, completely distracted from what my students were saying, just praying that Elliott Quinn would have an amazing first day of school. That she wouldn’t be afraid or nervous, that she would remember all her friends’ names, and that everyone would be nice to her.
I admit I was feeling a little sorry for myself.
I wanted to be with my three year old and not with 31 seventh graders. I wanted to see, in person, what those neon green skinny jeans (that she picked out all by herself) looked like on her little chicken legs. I wanted to be there to put her hair in a ponytail (a “small one in the back that hangs down” as she requests). I wanted to hold her chubby little hand as she walked in to see Ms. Patrice and Ms. Sena for the first time in months.
I chose to become an educator for many reasons, some selfish and some not. But as my kids get older, I realize that a decision I made twelve years ago will always be in the way of their school experience. No room-mom duties for me, no lunchroom visits, no class parties, or special programs. Those are things I don’t get to do for my own kids.
And that just bums me out. A lot.
Tomorrow I won’t be so emotional or whiny, I know this is just one day. It was actually a really good day, and it’s only as I sit here with everyone in the house asleep that I get a little reflective on this choice I made, to choose other people’s kids over mine. And I’m just wondering if some day I’ll be sorry.