33 minutes ago
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
I'm Not a Mother
I'm not a mother. "We haven't been blessed with children." You've heard all the phrases. So, please don't think that I think I know what it's like to be a mother. I don't. However, I get to have experiences with children. It's my career. My profession. And sometimes, these children turn my hair gray!
This last Sunday evening, K and I sat down to settle our finances together as we do each week. I quietly commented to him, "Today is the day that Cade died ten years ago." K never met Cade, but I was his teacher and I have visited his grave site. I helped shepherd Cade's classmates through the viewing and the funeral, as well as the discussions that came up afterward. Weeks later, I would be blowing my hair dry before school and start sobbing. So random. I had a hard time disciplining my students, thinking, "What if this is their last day on Earth and I'm the one that kept them in for recess?" Cade passed away due to a tragic accident at his home. I'm so sorry for Cade's family. His little sister later became one of my students. I didn't know how much before he died, but I knew it quite well afterward...I really loved that kid! I love all of my students. It's just hard to measure the love when they keep talking while you're talking.
While I was thinking back to being Cade's teacher, I had no idea that at that very hour, my current student, C, was sitting in a manhole waiting to be rescued! She and her brother and her friend were innocently walking home (it was dark) when she unwittingly stepped into an open manhole and dropped sixteen feet! Her brother tried to stop a car on the side of the road and her friend called 911 on her cell phone. After calling 911, the girl called C's parents and then she called her own parents. Rescuers arrived. The highway was closed. Life Flight landed and took her to the hospital. They had to cut her brand new sneakers off. I visited C yesterday afternoon once she had been released (her family is totally fine with the pictures I snapped). Can I just tell you, it's SO GREAT to know she'll be able to heal from her injuries! It is SUCH a RELIEF! I wouldn't wish a concussion, a broken arm, and a stage two lacerated liver on anyone, but she will mend, and for that I am truly grateful. As a class, we watched the newsreel on the internet. After that, we made get well cards. I taught her older sister when she was a fifth grader.
Four years ago, I had another student, C, that was life-flighted. She rode her four-wheeler through a barbed wire fence which cut her neck and caused swelling, closing off her airway. K and I visited her in the hospital. Again, relief! Life Flight gave her a special t-shirt because they had to cut her clothes off, and she wore it proudly. She reads tons of books, she teases her siblings, and she's still here. I've taught all of the children in that family except for the youngest who hasn't made it to fifth grade yet. I've also been to their father's funeral.
Another student, Katherine, didn't make it. She too rode on Life Flight and spent a couple of days at the hospital after a tragic accident while camping, but she couldn't continue. We lost her. How could this growing, inquisitive, spunky, darling girl who sold Girl Scout cookies to me (and had just played her flute in front of the whole class the Friday before) not be here anymore? It brings tears to my eyes again as I type. Her brother later became my student. Her mom still works at the school. Sometimes we hug over Katherine. The photograph on her headstone is the one I took of her on the first day of school.
In each case mentioned, I have taught more than one child from those families. I have become part of their lives and they have become part of mine. I'm certainly not the only teacher who loves her students, but I just wanted to say something about the concern and worry that goes into raising and teaching these children. It really does take a whole village to raise a child. It takes a community of caring citizens. No, I'm not a mother. I am a Teacher. And I'm very happy about that, even though I've got more gray hair than ever thanks to C's manhole experience the other night. I hope the parents enjoy our Night at the Museum tomorrow night. I hope they know during parent/teacher conferences next week that I'm trying my best. I hope they know how much I worry about and love their precious children.