Honest, tiny human teacher, To dream

A letter to my future children

To my future children,

I don’t have you and I’m going to be completely frank: I don’t really want you.

I have struggled on Mother’s day in the recent years. And each year I find myself thinking of you- of the fictional children that people believe I so desperately want.

But back to that honesty; I have no desire to replicate myself at all.

I don’t really want you.

I know you are wondering why I am writing this letter to you and what’s the point of me telling you I didn’t really want you-I’ll get there, I promise. Just stay with me.

Over the course of the last 15 years I have taken care of, pastored, mentored, coached, taught over 1,000 kiddos from all ages. I’ve worked for preschools and churches and non-profits. I’ve known a lot of kids. I also know all the names I will NEVER call you and the ways I will and won’t raise you.

But, you don’t exist and that’s ok.

I have changed diapers, cleaned cuts, cuddled toddlers with 104 fevers. I’ve been puked on, pooped on, peed on, bit, hit, cussed out.

While I have the ability to go home and drink a glass of wine in silence every night I still have voices in my head and worries and stress from so many different kids.

And that’s why the last few years, especially on Mother’s day, I’ve been stuck between worlds. The world of feeling like a mom but not being one. The world of wanting to take care of my own tiny humans and the world of having absolutely no desire to do so.

Not to mention the fact that as I write this letter I am almost 36 and have no possible husband material in front of me.

(And before anyone reading this says I could have children on my own, please just don’t)

So, back to the point:

Kids, I don’t want you.

(Here’s the but)

BUT

If you are actually reading this, as my daughter or son 15 or 20 years from now, you need to know something desperately important.

You are so loved.

The fact that you are alive means that something occurred in my life that was incredibly lovely and possibly surprising.

The fact that you are alive means I have gotten the chance to see how I am as a parent. I probably got frustrated that my nap techniques didn’t work or felt relieved that I’ve given the Heimlich to toddlers more. It means I was sufficiently grateful for all my knowledge of child development and that children are far less breakable than we think.

The fact that you are alive means I’ve met a love I’ve never known.

But, if you aren’t reading this, if you don’t exist, If this just stays on the internet to read by random strangers who pass by my corner of the internet, I want the random stranger to know that I am not less whole because you don’t exist.

I don’t feel as if I’m not leaving a legacy.

I don’t feel as if I’m not giving all the love into the world I can.

I guess, my point it, my dear non-existent future children is that you are whole.

No matter what relationship you are in or not in. Whether you want children or not.

And I just ask, that out of that wholeness, you give something away, you create something, you love something.

Figure out how you are going to put yourself out into the world.

Figure out how you are going to leave your footprint on the world.

How you are going to love yourself despite what the world may or may not say you need in order to do that.

To my future children,

You are already loved- even if you don’t ever exist.

With love,

Me

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But, I am a teacher.

Almost two years ago now I wrote a piece called “Don’t call it daycare”. It outlined my day, everything I do and how I am in fact a teacher.

This year, over the course of this pandemic, I’ve been told by all the world outside of my little classroom bubble a lot of mixed messages.

My center has been open the entirety of 2020. Our class sizes have ebbed and flowed, our bleach usage has gone up and we had a glorious season of time where we had turkey burgers and chicken nuggets at lunch.

We’ve been told we’re essential, we’ve been told we’re needed, we’ve been told they couldn’t do it without us.

We’ve been told to try to social distance three-year olds and to not hug them when they fall. We’ve been wearing cloth masks (that I now own about 12-15 of) and doing circle time, singing songs and telling stories.

We’ve watched parents cry before they pick up their kids, we’ve seen kids have tantrums they haven’t ever had, and we’ve missed out on the lives of those who haven’t come back.

But then we were told we were germ factories, we were told we weren’t teachers, we shouldn’t have opinions, we were called daycare over and over.

And then teachers didn’t want to come back to school without all the proper PPE (which rightly so), but then I saw post after post about “daycares” being open so why couldn’t schools.

And more than I ever have in my life, I’ve been told that I am not a teacher.

We’ve been doing a really damn hard thing since March.

And I’m not at all disregarding the hard things K-12 teachers have been doing. I’ve sent venmo’s to friends who are teachers and donated from their amazon lists and sent them coffee cards.

What I am saying is that I applied for a new job in July and was so excited to no longer in be in a profession where I felt so underappreciated by the outside world.

And when they came back after a preliminary phone interview and said thanks but no thanks, I was crushed.

I was crushed for a lot of reasons: it was a writing job that used my child development knowledge, it was remote, and, in all honesty, it would have been a needed change.

But apparently it wasn’t where my 2020 story was supposed to go.

I am so grateful that in the story of 2020 in the lives of so many of my families I will have a bookmarked spot. As hard as it has been, mostly mental health wise, I know that I am a human that can do hard things like I did and am doing and that I am a constant stability in the lives of my tiny humans. I am grateful for our families and for my boss and that we’ve done this together to the best of our abilities as we too have been building the plane as we flew it.

But the inability to feel as if I am a teacher is really damn hard. To feel that I don’t have a voice regarding being a teacher and in feeling like what I do isn’t enough.

I’m not writing all of this to get accolades or to blame.

I’m writing it because it makes me sad, angry and everything emotion in between.

I’m writing it because I’m not the only one who feels this way.

And I’m writing it because early learning teachers deserve better.

That’s all.

Honest, hope is a verb

I am not going to change the world

I am only one human.

I am not going to change the world.

The words I write via Instagram or Facebook or twitter maybe really reach 100 people. I do not have a book deal.

My job does not involve writing.

My words, these days specifically, feel like they fall pretty damn short.

I haven’t felt over the past five months that I should write because when I do my words are filled with anger.

But, when it comes down to it- I am angry.

I am angry because I lack the ability to communicate the experience I am having. I am in the midst of my walk up hill both ways in the snow story and in all honesty I’d rather just walk up hill both ways in the snow.

I am angry because it feels like I’m living through a season of life where I’m an essential, but also looked down on. Where my anxiety is causing me to hold on to every single emotion and my ability to feel for others has caused me to short circuit.

I am angry because I feel like nothing I do is actually helping.

I am angry because people keep telling me how to do my job that have never done my job.

I am angry because the fact I don’t have the appropriate degree causes me to fall through the cracks.

And I am angry because so many people have an opinion about what I do.

I am angry because it helps me feel.

And I am tired.

And that’s why I’m not writing.

I got excited about something a couple weeks ago. The emotion was welcome and needed. The exciting thing didn’t pan out and then I found myself lacking again.

But, a friend told me the other day that she though I should right this weekend- so I thought I’d try.

So, that’s why I am writing.

Because, I know for a fact, I’m not the only one feeling a cluster of emotions and also the inability to feel them.

I’m not the only who does something that causes them to smile (like listening to live music last night) and forgot that smiling shouldn’t have been cancelled.

I know I’m not the only one who is tired- but doesn’t feel allowed to say it.

I know I’m not the only that needs to remember that emotions are good because it reminds us that we are human.

 That anger reminds us of passion.

That tiredness reminds us to rest.

That the tears that are falling from my face in this moment reminds me that being a human who puts herself out there so that other know they aren’t alone is something important to me.

I am not going to change the world.

But, I can change MY world.

My audience isn’t immense.

But it’s filled with people I care about or care for.

I am only one human.

I am Meg.