By Moya Seneb
Amy has a million children and a house that has whiteboards for walls. If you’re lucky, you love being home. Everyone who walks through her door is taken care of, but make no mistake, she is tough love. She is crying and the shoulder. Amy keeps the gifts we give her behind her desk, in a corner of treasures. Tapes them to the wall. Leaves them on her desk in the same spot for years, but never collecting dust. Amy has a million children, but none of them go hungry. We call her breadwinner, pizza giver, and oranges on a good day. She always saves me the Oreos. Somehow, she knows which ones of us have allergies and which ones are out of lunch money. She separates the snack drawer into All You Can Eat Buffet and The Ones Who Need It. If her paycheck could speak, it would scream when she cuts numbers out for people who don’t know her yet, like she always knows someone who needs something more. She supports our projects. She bought me a prom dress, and a poetry book that had the audacity to give me hope. I know Amy’ll change the world for a million children and more. I know this because I know her. She is all open arms for the next batch. She says, “Welcome to the Write Place,” and “What happens in Poetry Club, stays in Poetry Club,” unless one day we’re all reaching for pens, but you are not. You are reaching for help. She is “hand it to me when you can’t handle it.” “What do you need? “I will show you how to get there.” There are not enough ways to repay her. We all wait for the day we can come back to visit Amy and her whiteboard walls. To see her smile like a million I’m proud of you’s, I think maybe that is worth something. My god, she is a new breed of soccer mom. These are the loudest cheers at the football games, and driving miles to see our basketballers make it to State. I said, make no mistake. She is tough love. If you are in too deep, sometimes she cannot come to get you. Sometimes lessons must be learned alone. There is not enough space on her walls to write warnings for every child. There is not enough time between each class to pull them all aside and say she is here and helping in the ways she can. She grieves Colton, breathless and sneaky tears in the middle of class. She mourns Lucas and all the days he’ll never have. She is the shoulder and she’s crying. Amy understands. Amy has seen so much, some of it repeating itself. But Amy cannot blame herself, she’s done way more than most would. This is beyond helping us with our homework, this is life after we leave her. This is the book she assigned him that changed his life. This is the time she told her to sign up for the talent show and the whole school cheered. This is the project that turned into a career in journalism, in editing, in finally writing that book. This is the first year I can come back to visit. She spots me down the hall and calls my name like it’s Christmas and I just came home.
Moya is a Humanistic Studies and Psychological Sciences double major sophomore from Arlington, Virginia. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org