I am not even going to sugar coat it. We are on the struggle bus over here and we will be for the foreseeable future. We are trying to adjust to a new normal this school year and it is just not going well. While teachers and schools are trying their best to support students, resources are limited and even students who typically do well are struggling in ways they have never struggled before.
At home, we are putting in long hours checking Google classrooms and re-teaching material. We are watching teacher videos and then trying to teach math the “new way” only to realize that we don’t even understand it! We are supporting our kids the best we can, but it isn’t enough. Our kids are crying, our teachers are crying and we’re crying. But we’re showing up and we’re doing it.
We might not be happy about it, we might not be doing it perfectly, but we’re doing it.
Nearing the end of a particularly long Sunday of 5th-grade homework with my 10-year-old, I was not exactly channeling my inner Mary Poppins. I was at the end of my rope and had a list of chores going through my head that I knew I would never get to. Instead, I was spending the better part of my weekend helping him study for a retake of a geography test, catching him up on missed assignments and working with him on reading comprehension. The last assignment was to write a letter to the person you consider to be your hero and explain to them why.
“Great!” I thought. We had this one in the bag! He had written an essay last year about how his Daddy was his hero, so I encouraged him to use that. He looked at me and said, “I got this, Mom, go do your chores.” I told him I would be back in a bit to check on him.
As I was lost in piles of laundry, I saw his little face peek through the laundry room doorway. “I’ll be right there!” I called. When I entered the room, he told me to stand in a specific spot and cover my eyes. He then said, “Okay, look.” When I uncovered my eyes I saw his letter. The first two words were, “Dear Mom.” My eyes welled up with tears. I could barely read the rest. He grabbed me around the waist and gave me the biggest bear hug he could.
“Why am I your hero?” I asked him, my voice shaking.
“Because Mommy, you take care of me,” he replied.
Y’all, listen. They are watching. Everything you do. Every single hug you give. Every single snack you make. They are taking it all in. They are remembering how you made them feel. They are making sense of the world through your gestures, your attitude, your love and your actions.
Even during this crazy time, they are feeling a sense of normalcy because you continue to show up. You keep loving them. You keep encouraging them. And you keep trying.
You. Are. Their. Hero.