I’m Doing Something Right—by Jamie Levine

This semester has been the most stressful of my life. Ever since I went back to school to become a speech-language pathologist, my life has been a whirlwind—but nothing compares to the last few months. A man I was dating for several months even told me recently that he had to stop seeing me because I’m too unavailable—and he was right. Between student teaching, graduate school classes, freelance work, and single motherhood, I have no time to spare. However, the one thing that makes everything worthwhile is the fact that my daughter is thriving; clearly, I’m doing something right.

Last week, my daughter was the V.I.K. (Very Important Kindergartner) of her class. As part of the honor, she was given a booklet in which she was required to write and draw pictures about her family and favorite things. She was also instructed to bring in pictures of her family, and to invite a “special person” to come to her class to read a book and share a snack with her classmates: She selected me.

When I showed up at Jayda’s school, she and a friend she had chosen literally raced to meet me at the principal’s office and enthusiastically hugged me and led me to her classroom. There, I was welcomed by her classmates and her teacher who told me to sit in a rocking chair in front of all of the students. Jayda sat next to me, proudly gripping my hand, and I read a book to a rapt audience. Then, Jayda and I went through her V.I.K. booklet and her family photos and gave everyone a colorful snapshot of Jayda’s life. Afterwards, Jayda’s teacher explained that she was going to go around the room and ask every student to “say something nice about Jayda.” My daughter is a very amiable, kind-hearted child who always seems to have a smile on her face, so I assumed she was fairly well-liked by her classmates, but the comments that her classmates shared made my heart swell with pride. The majority of the girls declared, “Jayda is my best friend!” and described her as “so pretty,” “funny,” and “always happy so she makes me happy!” One boy even declared, “Jayda is the nicest girl in the world!” And a girl whom Jayda is constantly complaining about, remarked, “Jayda is soooo nice and I’m going to be friends with her forever.” This same girl also came over to me before I left, and with an awe-struck look on her face, declared, “You are sooooooo pretty!” I couldn’t stop smiling all afternoon.

A few days later, I had my parent-teacher conference with Jayda’s teacher and she told me that she was thrilled to have Jayda in her class. She told me that Jayda was doing exceptionally well, and aside from being a “little bossy sometimes,” was an ideal student who always seems happy to be at school. She assuaged my few concerns and told me that socially and academically, my child is flourishing, and that I am doing a great job raising her. She literally ended the meeting with instructions for me to “keep doing everything I’m doing.”

My life is stressful. I’m working, studying, mothering, and on-the-go non-stop. I’m sleep-deprived and lacking much of a social life. But I have a terrific kid who thinks I’m the world’s greatest mom. Thank goodness I’m doing something—the most important something—right.