I’ll admit, I’ve been looking forward to being done. But less and less as the days wore on. It’s hard to describe how you can love the kids but not necessarily love the job.
As each kid left, I’d hug them goodbye, say ‘bye, have a good summer, it’s been nice having you. What else can you really say to these thirty kids? It was casual, as though I’ll see them next week, or next fall.
But I won’t.
And what I’d have liked to have said was “’Bye, kid, see you never which is really an awful concept for me but there’s nothing I can do about that. But I want you to know I would do something about that, if I could. And I’ll be thinking about you from time to time, as the years go by, and wondering how you’re doing and how you turned out, and if you’re OK. I hope you know you’re amazing, and there’s no one like you, and I’ve been honored to be a part of your life for this little slice of time. I hope you know I won’t forget your smile, that laugh, the look you got in your eyes just before you burst into the most genuine and life altering giggle. You made my day when you followed me around saying ridiculous things because you knew it would make me laugh. I saw that act of kindness when you didn’t know I was watching. I saw how you almost made an angry outburst but responded with grace instead. I’m so proud of you. I hate myself for not telling you more, for not being more encouraging. I wish I’d had more time with you, I love being around you, and I know every time you tried to tell me something there were four other kids at once vying for my attention but I wanted to hear the end of that story. I’m daily astounded by your artistic ability, your athletic prowess, your cleverness, your ingenuity, your quirkiness, your individuality. You’re great. You can do anything. You’re so much you, and the thought of never seeing your face or having a conversation with you again ruins my day. I hope you find purpose, and are kind and brave and loved. I won’t forget you.”
But, needless to say, I didn’t say any of that to any of them, with their parent there to pick them up, with chaos and children everywhere. I wish I had. I wish I could’ve. I wish I’d tried.
Hopefully, someone sometime does.
Don’t ever work with kids.
Inevitably you’ll fall in love with them, and one way or another it’ll break your heart.