Every Tuesday, the writing community of Two Writing Teachers hosts Slice of Life. All are welcome to participate by linking up posts or commenting on other participants.
I normally have a good sense of what I will write about on Tuesdays, and this morning, I had a strong sense of how my post would go. I had a wonderful time teaching poetry to fifth-grade students during their outdoor education program. However, a phone call just as I was leaving for work changed the focus of my week's slice. I was running a little late-- Cecily wanted braids in her hair, Clare had forgotten to get everything off the floor for the cleaning lady, the dog kept spitting out his pills despite some tasty pill pockets, and I needed something for lunch. Then the phone rang.
“Someone hit me,” Clare said.
“Are you okay?" I said, trying to react calmly to the words no parent wants to hear. "Where are you?”
She told me where she was, and I could hear her voice thicken. “It wasn’t my fault,” she said.
“I’ll be right there.” I left. And I left the dog's pills on the counter, my bag on the floor, and my apple and water on the table.
As I drove toward the high school, I realized that I really didn’t know the extent of what happened. I only knew about where she was.I drove along envisioning all sorts of scenarios. When I saw the police car on the side of the road, I breathed. Clare was also there. She was fine--trying hard to clean her car because red smoothie had gone everywhere when she was rear-ended. She started to cry when I hugged her, and I worked hard to keep my composure. The car needs a new bumper and hatchback, but that's okay. My daughter was able to get out of the car and call me.
The officer let her leave the scene, and she finished her drive to school. Once she left, the man, an older man who didn't speak English well, kept repeating how sorry he was.
"It's okay," I kept saying. "She's okay, and it's just a car."
He started to cry, and then I almost did too. "I'm so sorry," he said over and over.
My original idea for a post was about celebrating what really matters in students' writing. Instead it's about celebrating what really matters in life.