Dear Young Lady,
As you stand before me, asking me to charge your phone, though you’re an hour late for school and not in full uniform, all I can think of is that we only have two months. So that’s why I Dora-the-Explorer-blinked-and-stared at you before answering. Two months.
I’ll admit that I am menstrual and emotional and generally just a little bit too turnt up this week. So here’s me, Mrs. Eby, in all in my feelings–nothing you haven’t seen so many times before in the past three years.
We only have two months of saying good morning and “How was your night? How’d you sleep?” and “Please stay awake in block 1,” and “Don’t spill your cereal on the keyboard…again.” You have two more months of my looping lectures. You can switch back and forth between sighing and looking away, listening with tears in your eyes, or walking away from me. Just two months of you accidentally calling me mom (and I actually count those, it’s been five times just this week). We have two more months of you leaving your things all over my office. Two more months of your cousin calling me past my bedtime to find out if I know where you are. Two more months of you leaving half-done projects everywhere you’ve sat. And two more months of tiny disagreements followed by tiny apologies. Just two months of you needing a pencil, of needing a sheet of paper, of needing a hug, two more months of you needing me. But I actually know that’s not true.
Three years ago you walked up to the door of my classroom, grabbed me around the middle and said, “Hi teacher!” Like you just thought I looked friendly, or maybe you just hugged everyone, or maybe that was just you. And as I got to know that huge heart inside of your chest, I see that is who you are. That’s my very favorite thing about you.
But it scares me too. So when I gave you an earful this morning about staying out late, about lying to your cousin about where you are, about boys, and that friend I really don’t trust, when I went on about your future and your choices and your amazing brain, I did that because I am scared. I’m scared you’ll give your giant heart to someone who doesn’t deserve it. I’m afraid that you’ll grab a new person around the middle and that person won’t be a me.
I want you to be whole in all of the ways a person can be whole. Whole heart, whole mind, whole spirt, whole piece of toast. I just don’t trust the rest of the world to let you stay that way.
It’s not because you’re not strong or tough or hearty. In 13 years, you’ve been through much more than I have in 30. But I want your next 17, your next 117 to be simpler, with less hard choices, and less hurt, but more independence. I want you to be free to make choices between two good things like this car or that car, this college or that college, this job or that job. No more deciding between a rock and hard place. No more dilemmas. If you can get through these next five without pain, pregnancy, or pleas, you’ll make it to those choices, to that dilemma-less-ness, to that freedom.
But how oh how do I help you see that? How can I show you the crystal ball that I have in my head? Or the well wishes I send from my fingertips? How can I show you the amount I care about you? I can’t teach you the wisdom of years, can’t make you know that youth is wasted on the young, can’t possibly prove how right I am about this, and everything else I’ve ever said to you. You just have to find out for yourself.
That’s what scares me the most.
But for two more months, I’ll keep talking to you every day. I’ll repeat the same diatribes like they’re brand new, like they just occurred to me, like my words drip drop with novelty and recent realizations. As I fill your ears while pouring out my heart, I’ll hope that I’m filling your brain. I will be here ready for you to call me mom. I will be right here ready for your tears, hugs, your kind and sometimes unkind words.
So, yes I will charge your phone. And please change your shoes and take off that hoodie. Hand me your late pass.
Let’s make this a good day. Because that’s where this starts, over and over and over and again.
Ms. Doran/Mrs. Eby/Mom