So yeah, my last post was a glimpse into my world as a homeschool teacher to pregnant and parenting teens. Katherine was my very first student and she was a doozy to say the least. I will say that in the end, I over-bonded, got way too close, bought the baby gifts, and was taking home phone calls (this was pre-cell phone days) from her mother, Lois, that always ended with "I love you teacher." Needless to say they made room for me on the couch and I didn't know how to set boundaries. I think about that family, I wonder how many children Katherine has now, and I can calculate how old her first baby would be but it just makes me depressed about my own age. Katherine might well be a grandmother by now if the pattern repeated itself.
Oh my students. They did run the gamut. And I did care about them--deeply.
I saw students who were poor--literally with dirt floors--I saw students who were rich--with two Lexuses in the driveway. I saw a student in an arranged marriage with her first cousin who was 40 years old and it still makes my skin crawl just typing that sentence. I saw two students who planned their pregnancies together and delivered within two weeks of each other. I saw one student who was twenty years old and still in the 10th grade, on her third baby.
Of course the beautiful thing at the time was I had no idea of my own precarious fertility. It was slipping away with every visit I made to each teen mom. It was sliding through my fingers as I consoled their crying newborns while they tried to take a test. It was declining while I scrambled to find them a carseat so they could take their baby home from the hospital, while I filled in as a Lamaze coach, while I stood knocking in the freezing cold only to learn the house I was visiting, where my student and her newborn lived, had been raided by the police the night before, nearly everyone arrested on drug charges. But I had no idea--the world 'infertile' wasn't in my vocabulary. I was there to teach, to listen, to hold, to help--to make a damned difference!-- and when I cried for their sad and seemingly impossible situations I am grateful now that I had no idea what loomed ahead for me, for my sad and seemingly impossible situation, or I would surely have come apart at the seams.
Life is full of irony, no?
2 years ago