Yes, I am writing about the cafeteria again. But not about her.
This year I had cafeteria duty. I had the opportunity to be like her, or to not be like her (that IS the question!). I had to hand out spoons, straws, napkins, advice, my own brand of motherly care and consoling, and I also received.
I received thank yous, little hugs, big hugs, bear hugs, and also...words. Both beautiful and heart-wrenching words came from their mouths.
"I love you, it's like you're my aunt, and my favorite."
to another student "Ms. Emily always takes care of us, don't worry."
whilst hugging me "I don't want to let go, I want you to stay here!"
"Can come home with you? I don't want to go home." (this not only in the cafeteria, but also the bus line, from more than one kid, had me nearly crying. Some were just being facetious, but a couple of them were serious. That's the heartbreaking part.)
And on autograph day,
"Of course I had to come get yours, Ms. Emily!"
Y'all can't see the looks on their faces, but I could. And I'm going to miss my kiddos so, so much next year, since they'll be big 3rd graders, off to the next campus. I can only hope that I made the impact on them, that they made on me, one for the better.
Because of things they've said, trusted me with, hugs they've given, I've grown, and become more than what I used to be. They may not realize it, but I do. "Even a child should lead them." And they have.