Most every afternoon, you come up to me and say, "Miss Teacher, can I have a hug?" And I of course smile and say, "Absolutely you can" and squeeze you into a tight hug. You always smile back and say, "Thanks." I know you appreciate those special hug moments and I am grateful that I am so easily able to give you what you need. Just a hug. Your home life is not great. I know you are lacking so many of the things you need, and I know that adults in your life have let you down. Many, many times. Yet you come to me, and when you could be asking so much, all you want is a hug.
What you do not know is that those hugs mean as much to me as they do to you. What you do not know is that on some days, I need them as much as you do. Your hugs are not the quick, "How's it going" kind, but those tight squeeze ones that you can tell the hugger never wants to let go. The hugs that make you think, "Wow, that was a good hug." When I am exhausted, or stressed, or losing my patience, they remind me for that split second why I teach. They remind me why I am here, and why I will come back again tomorrow. Your hugs say with so much more intensity than words, "Miss Teacher, you are my teacher. I need you. I need so much, but right now, I just need you to be here for me and take this moment to remind me that you care." They bring me away from the hectic classroom for just a moment and bring me to that place inside me that whispers, "This is your life's work. Don't give up."
So, my student, my answer tomorrow will be, "Yes, of course you can have a hug." Thank you so much for asking.