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There’s a little girl in my class at school that I want to take home. Not to sound kidnapper-ish, but I’ve actually had dreams of stealing her, & I’m simultaneously relieved & disappointed when I wake up. She’s two-yrs-old, & beautiful, & sassy. And her hair is always dirty & tangled, her clothes are rarely clean, & she has grime caked… I’m talking CAKED, like you could scrape this stuff off in chunks… behind her ears. Her mother, however, is gorgeous — she’s perfectly assembled & well-groomed, & shrieks like a banshee if her disheveled little daughter tries to touch her or sully her immaculate clothes with her dirty little hands. I’ve witnessed her refusal to let her daughter hug her goodbye on several occasions because she would “mess her up.” I wanted to follow her out to the parking lot & run her over with her own stick-figure-family-adorned Suburban.

I try to limit the amount of time I hold the kiddies, especially during playtime. They’re supposed to be learning independence, self-reliance, etc. So when they cry to be held, I try to distract them with a grasshopper hunt or a rousing round of ring-around-the-rosy. But I never refuse LittleGirl. If she wants me to hold her, I hold her. And I hold her for as long as she wants to sit with me. I try to detangle her hair, & pin it back out of her eyes. I hug her & kiss her & tell her she’s a smart girl & that I’m proud of her.

Yesterday morning, the director of our childcare center came down to our room. I have a friendly relationship with her, but nothing too personal… she knows that I’ve had several miscarriages, but we’ve never talked about it. LittleGirl & I were going through our morning routine — she was playing with blocks & telling me a story while I pushed & pinned her hair out of her eyes. The director walked into the room & straight to me. She hugged me, a real hug with both arms. I’m sure I looked confused when she let go (since this would most definitely be our first interaction of this sort), & she said “I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate you. You are truly a mother.” And as strange as it sounds, without her mentioning my babylosses or infertility, I knew exactly what she meant. Tears sprang to my eyes & I thanked her. She patted LittleGirl on the back & left.

It was such a random, strange little interaction, but for the remainder of the day, I thought of it with a warmness. If Director Lady & I never have another such exchange, that will be fine & maybe even preferable. But it was an unexpected gift for which I’m very thankful.

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