I miss them all. I miss the quiet ones, the loud ones, the eager ones, the sluggish ones, the class standouts and the class clowns, and every one in between.
I miss my their smiles — the wide-open ones, the small, sheltered ones, the barely-there smiles, and the gummy, toothy grins,
I miss their drama — the boyfriend/girlfriend kind, the hair’s-a-mess kind, the math-is-hard kind, the parents-just-don’t-understand-me kind.
I miss their stories — the dog-ate-my-homework, the truck-wouldn’t-start, the baby-brother-cried-all-night, the forgot-it-on-top-of-my-best-friend’s-car stories.
I miss their creativity. The artwork that brings me to tears,the presentations that give me goosebumps, the insights that blow me away.
I miss them bargaining over who’s gonna make the Quizlet, arguing over who gets the comfy chair, debating over which is better: Sweet Chili Doritos or Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
I miss the small groups of dancers, ball players, and poets who convene in my room fifteen minutes before school every morning.
I miss my first period’s scramble to fit Stalin into our daily discussions and their impromptu Phineas and Ferb theme song serenades.
I miss my eighth-period gaggle of multicultural girls, chairs mashed eight-strong at a six-person table.
I miss the quiet kid in fourth period who whispers when he says a single word, and the rowdy one in second who has an Irish blush to his cheeks and a soccer jersey on every day.
I miss the boys named after Texas cities who stroll into class with their lanky legs and sheepish grins, and I miss the girls named after the seasons, with their calm, soothing ways and hopeful promise.
I miss my daily bear hug from my husband’s D-lineman and the sweet side-squeezes from my beloved Chipper girls.
I miss the red head who proclaimed himself “Testiculous the Great” while studying the Roman poets, and the mop-head who loves Joe Mama jokes.
I miss 10th grade boy humor.
I miss the dark, quiet beauty with the light dusting of freckles and the penchant for writing stories. I pray she’s doing okay.
I miss the awkward goddess full of frizzy curls and goodness who’s got no idea she’s a goddess yet. I pray for her confidence to continue to bloom.
I miss my golden-haired seniors with laughter in their spirits and spitfire in their souls. I pray their sunshine and lightning always stays.
I miss my students and I pray for them all. All my precious, quirky, needy, independent, oh-so-capable students.
These kiddos are inheriting the earth very soon — an earth currently coping with and recovering from the likes we’ve never seen. But they have what it takes. They have sunshine and lightning. They have passion and gumption. They have humor and grace and whimsy and wit. They have everything it will take to get through this and to get this world to a better place.
I miss my students, and I pray for them every day. Every. Single. Day.