"You love your daughter more than your work, right, Mommy?" she asks me out of the blue, peering at me through the open bathroom door as I get ready one morning.
Knife to the gut.
"Of course I do, honey," I say, reassuringly, but wonder where that came from and why she would even question my love.
Her question has been on my mind since she asked it.
There are a lot of articles about the struggle of being a teacher and a mom simultaneously. There's "I cannot be a good mother and a good teacher" by Marissa Cooper. Dominicca Washington writes, " If I give too much to one, it often feels like the other will inevitably suffer" ("I'm a Teacher and a Mom and Sometimes I Can't Be Both"). One post that especially touched my heart was "A Letter to My Children: What It Means To Be a Teacher" by Sarah Brown Wessling. Wessling writes, "What I want you to know is that there are things in this world that you will choose, and there are things in this world that will choose you. That little girl was meant to be a teacher. Although it would take her years to recognize it, that meant you would, by default, know the life of a teacher."
I'm like Sarah Brown Wessling, except it didn't take me years to know I was meant to be a teacher. From the earliest age, it was all I wanted to be. I think of being a teacher as who I am: not a job I have, but a vocation. I can't turn it off, even in the summer. My mind is always spinning with ideas about teaching. Before I was a mom, I was a teacher.
And it must be good, for my children to see me love my job, to see me have a passion to help others, right?
Writing is thinking and writing helps me think through swirling thoughts but this piece is still unformed, developing. I love teaching. I love my children. I am a teacher and I am a mom. All parts of me. All roles that make up my identity.
But that little face peering in the door, looking for assurance that she is more important to me than the work I do- I just can't get it out of my head.