on the last day of intersession he pushed it into my hand and closed my fingers around it. for you. he whispered and then bulleted out of the door, down the hallway, not looking back. i get love notes all the time, the ones that say, "you are the best teacher" because all first graders write these letters to every teacher they know. so i didn't think about it and pushed it into my pocket as i said goodbye to the rest of the class one by one.
i find it again doing laundry and carefully unfold the hundreds of folds he'd used to turn it into a tiny square. one word, written on both the front and the back, with flowers carefully drawn around the three letters.
my heart hurts.
the one word, a lie, given to the wrong person, says it all. no first grader with a happy, healthy family is looking for a new mom. not like that. maybe in a playful way, or a forgetful way- when they say "mom look over here!" because they forget they are in school and are use to getting attention from their mom, and with you it is the same.
this was searching for something else. something that makes me worried about him this week, at home, and worry about him in the future, when he continues to try to find the mom he is looking for. in a girlfriend? in the gangs waiting with open arms? in an adult he shouldn't trust? will he fake helplessness in school so he can get the maternal attention he's seeking?
yet i am not his mom, not even his teacher, anymore.
so i fold the note back up along the tiny creases until it is the one inch square he created.