Honest, washington whimsy

To the tiny human makers

To the tiny human makers,

My work wife and I had a rough week(s) and we were talking about so many things and being frustrated and lots of other toddler teacher life issues. And at the end of the conversation it boiled down to this.

We (I) love your tiny human.

I’ve held a lot of jobs in the tiny human field over the past 10 years. I’ve been: a Sunday school teacher, day camp counselor, camp counselor, preschool teacher, preschool coordinator for a church, toddler care coordinator for a non-profit, bible story lady, babysitter, VBS coordinator, “the kid person” on mission trips. I’ve written curriculum for programs and laughed and cried with babies to high schoolers on five continents. I’ve been “miss Meghan” “miss Meg” “Maggie” “MEG” and “Sox” or  “Junapera”. And now, of course, for the last 15 months or so I’ve been “Teacher Meg” (or TEACHER MEEEEEEEGGGG) adding lead toddler teacher to my list of tiny human jobs.

I have the faces of hundreds of kids run through my mind of different nationalities, ages, fatherless, motherless, homeless, dual job families, families with stay at home moms, or Grandma’s.

I will not know where a majority end up in life, but every one of them are etched on my heart.

I currently work at a year-round full time early learning center. I have kids that I see 35-40 hrs a week. And above everything, all the things I need to do for them, my goal in each and everyday is to let them know they are loved.

I spend my day having little conversations here and there about mom and dad and grandma and grandpa and siblings.

Because I know how much you love your tiny human. I see it on your face at drop-off and pick-up, when you tell me how they slept or ask me the same. I see it when you get excited for Friday and spending time with them. Or when you tell me about their first steps or a new word they said.

So, during the day, while you are at work, I want you to know that I LOVE your tiny human. I’ll hold them when they are sad, make them laugh, I’ll help them get a nap. I’ll make sure they learn how to throw their food in the trash and not on the floor. And if they bite a friend I will give them words to say. (Same goes for tantrums, don’t worry, those don’t fly with teacher Meg).

And I don’t necessarily do all those things because it’s my job–I mean it is my job, but I do them because I love your tiny human. When they cry, real tears streaming down their cheeks, I hurt. When they finally do the thing, I get so excited for them (I’ve never been so excited about peeing in the potty in my life). When they laugh and say “I love you teacher Meg”, I melt.

I will love your tiny human, knowing that my presence in their life is a passing moment.

But they will forever be a tiny (or maybe medium-sized) human in my life.

Some of these kiddos I knew for a day, or a few weeks or maybe years. And as I said, I don’t know what happened to most of them, or where they are at now. Like the little girl in my JK class who I worked with on letters and numbers one day a week for four months at her house after school. Or the little boy at day camp that we called ninja and all fell in love with. Or Nay in Cambodia, the girls at the academy in South Africa, or any and every smiling face I met at royal family.

I’m grateful for social media and the ability to watch some of these kids grow up. Like I know that when he graduates high school I will be there to watch Nicky B walk (or probably do the robot or something amazing) across the stage and I’ll drink a glass of wine with his mom Rachel because she was and is one of my mom role models. I’ll be amazed for every year older Eric and Cathy’s boys get and be thankful for every moment on their couches. And I will treasure every smile of that tribe of kids from Rock Harbor that were in my three day class together. And of course, a certain then five year old boy who would say “hey good lookin'” to me (he’ll be president some day). Not to mention the all grown up day campers who are off to college.

I’ll support those kids from afar in their adventures like their families supported me. I’ll cheer them on every chance I get. Even when they don’t remember that I was their teacher or their counselor or that crazy lady with the Afro.

I will always love those tiny humans.

I don’t know how long I will be in the tiny human game, or if I will have tiny humans of my own, but for now, each day I will love your tiny human with my whole heart. I will impart to them words of kindness and life and thankfulness. I will encourage them to do good and make choices that honor who they are.

And a note to the families of the tiny humans that aren’t so tiny anymore: know that I still love your kids and you with so much in me. I get so excited hearing of the accomplishments and victories in their lives. I’m grateful to have been a small part of your lives and know that you were/are a big part of mine.

And know this, if your child is in daycare, or preschool know and have the knowledge that they are loved a lot.

With love always,

Meg

Honest, washington whimsy

the long game

I am 31 and have no damn clue what I want to be when I grow up.(And I’ve also discovered I’m way too much of an NF to figure out a tangible life job.)

I’ve been in the early childhood world for about ten years and I’ve acquired so many different skills like the ability to communicate with parents and educators, the ability to be have immense amounts of patience. My leadership style has grown and changed. My capability to read a room helped me as the bible teacher at RFKC. 

And obviously I now have the ability to put 14 one year olds to sleep in under thirty minutes ( RIP teacher Meg and teacher Victoria nap time show).

But, that’s not what I want to be when I grow up. I’m thankful for the jobs I have held, and currently have that have caused me to grow and change as a person, but I’m not sure where this all leads me.

Last week, while curled up on my friend Tiffany’s couch, she asked me what the dream job was. 
Ha.

Can I get paid for writing and sitting and listening to people and then telling them their potential?

Because, one of the other skills that I’ve realized I hold is seeing who someone actually is even when they don’t see it. Adults, teenagers and of course, the tiny humans.

(Though most of the time it comes out in the form of “man up or shut up” or reciting the “but was he a man?” dialogue from the mindy project )

Rewind to the past few months in the two year old room.

Two year olds mean business. And I have a few that are more than a handful. 

I was on the phone with a parent a couple weeks ago telling her about something her tiny human did that day that caused teacher Meg to have a heart attack and she began apologizing for the fact that her tiny human is a handful and is always the one to be the first to test the boundaries.

I stopped her apologizing as quickly as it began.

I could easily see her becoming defeated, so, I said that said tiny human wasn’t a handful (and I will never confirm or deny if this is true), but to think about how when the tiny human is older, they will be able to take risks, and push the boundaries. 

She responded that I was thinking positive.

But I mean, what would happen if we looked at tiny humans like that? Saw the things that may look like not great life choices and find ways to turn them positive and frame them in that way. What would happened even if we looked at teenagers, adults like that? What would that change?

I’ve been watching a lot of Girl Meets World lately. (Sidenote if you are caught up PLEASE CALL ME BECAUSE I HAVE FEELINGS).

On GMW they have a lot of lessons and life wisdom and warm fuzzies and a handful of mentions of the “long game”. The long game is just how it sounds. Being in it not for the immediate results but for what will happen at the end. 
I have kids that I had in day camp that are out of college. I have preschoolers that are in junior high and high school. You don’t work in early education for the short game. Sometimes you get those immediate gratifying moments. But for the most part, you have to just know that at the foundation you are and were apart of that tiny humans life. I may never know what happened with them, but I will know that I will live in a little piece of their present in the future.

I want to live whatever I am doing in the long game. Be it working with tiny humans, or writing or sitting across from people or being in leadership or maybe one day being a wife and a mom. 

Living in the long game is being present with who you are today knowing that it will be apart of who you are tomorrow.  Living in the long game is taking care of yourself and your heart and soul and being so that ten years from now when something comes into your being you are prepared for it. 

I’m 31 and I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

But I’m choosing (attempting) to be present and honest and living with my whole heart. Because it’s for today, tomorrow, next week and next year. It’s for Bellingham now. It’s for Bellingham later and wherever else I find myself.  I’m choosing to live my life using the pieces of life I’m given and wrapping them into gifts I can give.

I’m living in the long game.