How Much

The kid who secretly made my day today is the son of a woman who was addicted to drugs while she was pregnant with him as well as for the first several years of his life, and who–even though she’s been clean for quite some time now–does not feel fit to be his mother. He therefore lives with his aunt, who considers him her own child. He is 16 and in the 9th grade because of how much he struggles in school. He is, on the whole, charming and sweet despite his challenges and obstacles.

The kid who secretly made my day walked into my class at the start of first period today, however, proclaiming, “Anyone who thinks I’m doing any work today is shit out of luck”: a statement he lived up to. After I exchanged some texts with his aunt about this, she surprised both of us by showing up to my classroom. She surprised us both even more by slapping him in the mouth when she heard about the profanity he had used.

The kid who secretly made my day openly cried after that. Head down and heart heavy, his tears just fell. I very nearly joined him, actually. And when he made my day (during the hug he and his aunt exchanged in the hallway, in which she reinforced how much she loves him and how incredibly much she wants for him), I almost cried again–but this time not out of grief. Out of gratitude.

 

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