“When did you find out? Last week?”
I smile. I am standing in front of a room full of students just before the bell rings.
“July,” I say, evening out the stack of papers in front of me.
“What?!” There is consternation on their faces.
“Why did you wait so long to tell us?” one girl asks.
When I say the word “baby,” I’m not sure how they’ll react. I’ve taught some of these students for four years, off and on. Sometimes I feel like I’m a bad habit they can’t shake — I chase them from Latin to English and back again. Part of me thinks they won’t care. What does it matter to them, anyway? Apart from an eight-week substitute and perhaps a less-energetic Ms. Hawkins Knell, not much will change for them.
But this morning when I got dressed, I looked in the mirror and thought: It’s time.
There are things you wait for patiently, the time smoothly running as you go about life. I’m not quite sure I know what those things are; they’re few and far between for me.
I wait with anticipation. I wait with a leaning-forward.
Waiting for this baby is different from any other waiting I’ve ever done. On the one hand, I want the day to come tomorrow. On the other, I push it as far away as possible. This waiting is filled with curiosity (who will she look like? what will he enjoy? will she laugh like me? will he have Gabe’s eyes?), fear (WHAT AM I DOING? can I actually handle this? HELP.), excitement (I can’t wait to show the baby the world! share all the things I love! build our family and its culture and its ways!) and doubt (I am not the person to do this).
Along with my excitement, there is so much to process, think about, worry about, freak out about.
One thing I love about my students is they didn’t express any of these things.
They expressed joy.
Here were some other gems from the day:
“Can I hug you, Miss Hawkins?”
“Now you can’t drink coffee!!” (I assured him I could, indeed, have one caffeinated cup and some decaf.)
“You have to eat so healthy now.” (Later at lunch, this student walked by me with a twinkle in his eye, nodded at my red pepper dipped in hummus, and said, “Good job.”)
“You’ll have to go to the bathroom all the time!” (This one surprised me — must have experience with pregnancy.)