I have two toddlers and they keep me very busy. I’d like to say that everything I do in this world is for them, but it isn’t really true.

See, I have these 150 other kids that I see everyday in my classroom at school. It’s a job and it’s the way I’ll provide 7adc327b-3ac9-4d45-ba49-bed8fd968ac0for Lucy and John. It’s the way my husband and I pay for the mortgage and it’s the way I go online shopping on Amazon Prime (every.single.night). But obviously it’s more. I know teachers say this all the time, but it’s true. At least, I noticed how true it was a couple weeks ago when there was a fight in my class.

It was very scary, violent, fierce and chaotic. There was meek ole’ me and 30 other seniors stuck in a room with one door and four concrete walls. When the fight broke out, I was alone and helpless. I tried to mediate but to no avail.  Security came pretty quickly, but by then my brave students had already jumped in and separated them.

I cried in front of them because I felt so awful that it had happened.  I felt so sad about the violence.  I felt so angry and embarrassed that it happened in my room.  I felt so scared.  I felt like sobbing, but settled for big fat tears that rolled slowly down my cheeks.

But I also felt so proud of how mature they all were.  When I couldn’t quite get into the middle of fists flying, they did.  When I couldn’t get the words “stop” out loud enough, they did (or thought of better words).  When I couldn’t stop crying they knew how to comfort me.  I got more hugs that day than the first day of school (and that’s a lot).

I’ve had a few bad days in my last nine years teaching, but none that affected me this much.  That afternoon I picked my own kids up at daycare with red, puffy eyes.  They noticed I wasn’t my regular self.  I tried to power through and I guess I did, but separating home and work was hard that day.

We took the next day in class to eat pizza together and work out our emotions through poetry and rap.  Since the incident we have grown closer as a family.  We have inside jokes, we laugh, we yell and we check one another when attitudes are out of line.  We may be dysfunctional, but I will never forget them for as long as I still have a working memory.  I know they know this.

Since that day students have given me apples, cards, hugs and hand crocheted ear warmers for my daughter.  None of those cost much money (heck maybe none of them dropped a dime) but they have been a constant reminder that I am more than just a mom to Lucy and John, I have a bunch of teens who need me, who are constantly irritated by me and perhaps most of all appreciate me.

img_1270Working moms have it hard, but we also have it really good.