Her legs wrapped around my waist like a chimpanzee baby, the tearful four year old student waved goodbye to her mother.
“Ms. Lauren, I miss Mommy. Do you miss your mommy?”
I explained to her that my mom lives far, far away and that I miss her each and every day.
“Yeah, my grandparents live in America!” my son confirmed.
“Why?” She clearly could not understand why we would live so far from my mother (and the rest of my family).
Good question, kid. It’s one that I have asked myself many times, one I wrestle with frequently yet I always arrive at the same conclusion: I became involved with international teaching based on circumstance, but it is now something that I do by choice. It is a way of life that immerses us in the global community, a life that teaches my two children to embrace diversity, where they look at the commonalities between their peers rather that the differences. Where I can send them to a school with small class sizes, a diverse student body, and a meaningful curriculum. Where teachers are provided with the resources and tools necessary to deliver a rich curriculum while being supported by personnel and administration. It is a career path that has allowed me to pursue my passion of teaching, and provides me with a salary which allows this single mother to comfortably live a life that opens the eyes of my children, and hopefully doors in their future.
“I get to see my mommy every Christmas and summer,” I assured the teary girl. She gave a nod of approval. For today, this answer would do, and for now I have peace in the choices I am making to not see my mommy every day. My life-story may not be the one I had once pictured but I am choosing to jump head first in the direction it has taken me.