Anyone who knows me knows I love few people in the world like a love a teenage boy. Don't get me wrong, here, people. This is not Mary Kay Letourneau love; it's the furthest from it. Because they're CHILDREN. No, I love teenage boys because I get a front row seat as they navigate the world, practicing for the kind of men they're going to be. Teenage girls are more difficult for me. So much drama. Such a quintessential gift for making hideously mean faces. The eye rolling. Uff. I don't get that from boys. They don't hate their mothers like girls do at that age, so they don't give as much push back to a mother-figure.
As I prepare to wrap up the year and start at a new school, I've been so blessed to experience such an outpouring of love from kids. Each expresses it in unique ways, reflective of who they are and where they are at this point in their lives. Yesterday morning Beyonce and Gabby arrived in my room before school, unplanned. Each had a small gift for me -- my favorite pastry from La Mie and a box of Hot Tamales. Later Alice piped up, "I saw you last night at the soccer game." I told her I didn't see her; she should have come over. She said, "Yeah. I hid from you... It was cool you were there." Kids. Gunner referred to me as Dragon Lady, an odd term of endearment he's taken to. But the sweetest is Chris.
I had Chris in an English extension course last year. He's incredibly bright. I think his home life is a little rocky, but he never wanted to talk about it. He is in desperate need of love. He wants hugs all the time. (Again, not in a gross way.) He needs a lot of reassurance. He came in during lunch to chastise me for leaving. He's planning to take AP Literature and Composition next year. He signed up because he thought I'd be his teacher. So many kids in that class need assurance and support; they need someone to not only believe in them and challenge them, but to assure them they will be successful, that I'll help them. They doubt themselves and they fear failure. It's easier to take the less challenging course, but they signed up for the risk because they knew I'd be there for them. Those are the kids who are taking my departure the hardest.
At any rate, Chris and a couple of his friends came in during lunch. When I stepped out to heat up my lunch, he jumped on my computer and left me a note. He expressed love in a way that only a teenage boy can. He typed his thoughts into the google search bar.
There's something poetic in that. He'd played the mean boy card -- he razzed and lambasted and called me a traitor. But ultimately he was left searching for a way to communicate that he cares. Enter the Google search bar. He didn't wait for me to see it. He told me on the way out the door, "I left you a message on your computer, Ms. Moehlis! Check Google."
So, love... I felt it in spades yesterday. I don't think any other job has the capacity to fill a person with such outpourings of love. I am lucky that I get my fill of it everyday.