Cover Me Up

It is Sunday night, and I haven’t thought about you all weekend. You have been sitting in ungraded piles on the tables by the door of my classroom. You have been unread and unmarked emails that I have chosen to ignore. Because I am raising three kids. And I am raising thousands of kids. And I have to have a balance between the two.

Because Saturday was running from store to store to party to party to house to house to out to dinner to home/friends/love/hate.

Because Sunday was more running (to the Lego store) to appease my middle child who always feels a bit left out. And another party, and another set of meals to make.

Because I need to breathe for a moment and think about what is most important. Is it my administrator telling me she’s tracking our usage of tablets that don’t work half the time so she can send the data to the district? Is it the kids in my first period who have been pushed into lockers and called faggot/whore/freak/thot [that ho over there]/cunt and causing me to stop the entire lesson to beg me to listen?

Or is it my girls, who beg me to teach them cross-stitch and ask me to stay at the advisory party and want me to skate with them and want me to wake them up at 6:15 so that I can make pumpkin spice bagels and vanilla chai tea and spend a moment before work with them?

You tell me. Tell me how to decide. Tell me how I am supposed to carry the weight of a thousand students inside the hazel eyes of the three girls I gave birth to.

Because thirteen years in, I am still not sure.

Because it’s Sunday night, and I am sitting in my dream house, that, thirteen years in, I can afford. Because the candles are burning and the music is playing and my girls have gone to bed. Because I’ve had a few glasses of wine and I have thank-you cards to write and grocery lists to make and weekend plans to destroy and a thousand kids, including my own, to raise.

Because there is never enough time.

And that is why I write. Why I love them. Why I hate how much they take from me. Why I live for how much they GIVE me.

And why I will not live by administrative threats. By school district doomsdays. Why I choose to live by these small requests that pile up around me like leaves falling in autumn. “Do something, Miss.” “Listen to us.” “Take me to the mall even if you hate it.” “Stay at my party, please?!” “I need you to cover me up.”

Because we all need that soft touch. That quilt of love wrapped around all that is evil in the world. That mother’s love. For all the thousands of kids who have it, who will never have it, who long to have it.

That is why.

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