Stretch is the prompt…
In so many ways, it’s all the same. Desks in rows and newly sharpened pencils and stacks of kleenexes and way too much paperwork.
But the feet in Toms or neon Nikes belong to children I don’t know, have no connections with, will only be here long enough to barely know before their real teacher returns. They slouch or hide behind their hair or sit and stare at me with eyes big as I welcome them to their first days of middle school and tell them how many days they will have to know me.
I get up too early but not early enough to fix the breakfasts and brush their hair and take the first day picture. My throat catches when I climb into the minivan alone to drive away and let their daddy load them up all four for first grade and second grade and Mimi’s house.
There I’m in control, the teacher, the confident one who could do this with on the fly and make it seem planned. I console tears and fright and lost schedules and mix ups. I breathe relief at the end that this classroom isn’t mine and I can give it back in only a few short weeks.
Here I stretch to make it all work. The backpacks and lunches and laundry and supper and preschool Open House and all the times that I am mommy.
Even when I’m not there.