I am blessed to work with some pretty amazing educators. Each one of us brings something a little different to the party, and somehow it just works. Today, I walked into class to find a hug-fest going on. Kids were lined up to hug their teacher. I assure you that only school-appropriate hugs were exchanged in the presence of other adults, who were also being hugged by a hug-crazed room full of Kindergartners! At the conclusion of this hug-mania, I heard her say, "this is the best fake-Mom hug I can give you. Now let's read the story."
The little girl whose dilemma started the hugging needed a bit of Mom-ness. The teacher told her that since I have so many kids, I have Mom-Eyes that can see when ice (or an ambulance) are needed, or if just a quick hug can fix it. You'll be glad to hear that she is expected to make a full recovery from a very VERY minor bump she received yesterday. I sent her back to class, but left school thinking about my Mom-Eyes.
I've been a Mom for most of my life. The Mom-Eyes developed without notice. I wasn't even aware that I had them until my teacher pointed them out. Now that she mentioned it, I can see how they change my vision. Every child is a son or daughter. Maybe not mine, but I can imagine they are the sparkle in someones eye. They are the reason someone wants to be a better person. At least they should be. The saddest time to HAVE Mom-Eyes is when you see a parent without them. Some parents are just too busy to see that they're missing out on the best part of parenthood: the kid!
Sometimes the Mom-Eyes see differently than the rest of the world. The world may see a little kid crying loudly (almost goat-like) sobbing, drooling, with tears pouring down his sweet little face. "Awww. Poor little guy! Let's give him what he wants!" The world may think that. My Mom-Eyes have seen this performance enough times to know better. If I give in, the waterworks stop and the "Ha, I win!" smirk is on his dear little face. Oh no! I will tell this child to follow the direction or there will be a consequence that he may not like. Then I will remind the child that he is choosing to lose out on any chance of receiving the fussed-over item. I am not being sweet during this time, but I AM being loving. Should I allow this kid to grow up thinking that stomping and storming and bawling gets him what he wants? I am truly sorry that he made this choice, but a lesson learned when he's little may save him the pain of jail time later.
Mom-eyes are eyes of love, but sometimes they cloud what's real. For example, it's hard to see your son graduate high school when you really can only see him as that awkward 12 year old version of himself when he's still mostly boy, but trying so hard to fit into a manly body. It's hard to trust that young men will treat your daughters with good and pure motives when you see that the Lord has blessed them with beauty. I see her. She is at the same time, my baby girl and a grown woman, and she's counting on me to be her example. My Mom-Eyes see me wishing I had the perfect words for them, and failing at being everything they need. Maybe that's not my place. Maybe my place is only to love them and do my best.
My dear teacher/friend/work-wife called her hugs "fake-mom hugs", and it is true that she has not yet been blessed with a child of her own. Her time will come. I pray that she will be blessed with her own children, and her own Mom-Eyes, and I hope it is everything she ever dreamed it would be! For now, there's nothing fake about it. She is truly Mother to the children in her class during the school hours (and frequently long after!) She cares for their needs, listens to their stories, works diligently to help them grow smarter and stronger and more capable every day. She teaches them not only how to read and write, but encourages them to imagine and wonder. She shows them by her own example how to appreciate and value every member of our classroom family. That sounds an awful lot like Mom behavior. Maybe Teacher-Eyes (really GOOD Teacher-Eyes) are not so different from Mom-Eyes.