Being Mom

February 14, 2012
I walk through the halls of my elementary school. I pass by the rows of green lockers that seem so tall I will never outgrow them. The walls are plastered with the art work of kids in the school. I always wished my art work would be good enough to go up on the wall. Each classroom I pass has different sounds coming out of them. Some I hear music, others the chatter of my peers and some no noise is coming out of at all except the loud strong voice of the teacher. As I get further and further away from my classroom and the cafeteria the crisp smell of whatever they are cooking for lunch recedes. I know why I am being called to Mrs. Clegg’s kindergarten room, this isn’t the first time. I walk slowly and deliberately. I feel special.

My sister is normally so strong, independent, and rebellious. When she doesn’t get her way she yells fights and screams until she does. She is tough and never takes no for an answer. Even though she is younger than me in ways I look up to her. I admire that she is so sure of herself. I wish I could be like that, just being able to be yourself no matter what. I guess this is something that comes with childhood. Young kids don’t know any better than to be true to themselves. They don’t have to impress anybody yet.

The little girl waiting for me is not my sister. She is balled up in the corner hugging her knees and sniffling. Tears are streaming down her face. Not her normal fortissimo cry, the one she uses to make others feel bad for her. No, this cry is pianissimo. Soft. Real. She looks vulnerable and broken. Few things make my little sister so distressed. I can’t remember the last time I saw her like this. I like taking care of her when she is sad or hurt. It makes me feel grown up and important. I like showing my sister how much I care for her. It is times like these when she actually shows gratitude toward me instead of beating me up like normal. I kneel down to give my sister a hug and hold her tight. I don’t care that her tears and snot are getting all over my shirt as she burrows her face against me. It breaks my heart to see her so unlike herself. A few tears run down my own face as I pat her back and whisper softly in her ear “I got you. Everything is going to be ok.” I rock back and forth with her in my arms. I am trying not to cry. I don’t want the kids in my class to see tears in my eyes. I don’t want them to think I am a baby.

We stand here like this until the tears trickling down her face slowly stop. I get a tissue and wipe the last few tears nesting on her cheek away. I hold the tissue to her nose and tell her to blow. She does as she’s told. Before I leave, I tuck her matted hair behind her ear, kiss her on the top of the head, and remind her that Momma will be there, waiting, when we get off the bus. Just like every other day.

She smiles a sad smile before she skips off to join the rest of her classmates for music time. That sad smile tells me she wasn’t faking and she wasn’t only crying to get attention. No matter what the grown-ups say I know that all she needed was some comforting to remind her that she hasn’t been forgotten.





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