Everything is Fine

I spend my days with high school students. This is mostly fun and mostly rewarding. I listen to them whine about early morning football workouts, about afternoon track workouts, about tests and papers and their parents. I listen to them ask questions, of me, of others. I listen to them laugh at snapchat videos and watch the post duck face snaps to their friends.

My instinctual response to each of these interactions and complaints and worries and fears is the same. It thrums behind my eyes and pulses through my skin. I sometimes want to stop them in the middle of a sentence, take them by the arms, make them look me in the eyes so they will really hear me when I say:

It’s alright. Everything is going to be alright.You are doing just fine.

But that would make me the crazy lady on campus and I’m not ready to start wearing sweaters knit from cat’s hair. Instead, I smile. I listen. I laugh and sometimes I tease them. They are savvy and sophisticated, these children of ours.

And they are still children. They want approval. They want to do well. They want our care and support. They want their dreams and they want tomorrow. They make me tell myself what I want to tell them:

It’s alright. Everything is going to be alright. You are doing just fine.

I sometimes rush home to tell my own kids these words, or something similar. Sometimes the message is couched in an oddly timed lecture about sexual health and making good choices, sometimes it sounds a lot like me explaining for the millionth time how to fold a towel in thirds, or when to add the fabric softener, or how to word an email. I feel myself running out of time as we prepare to graduate a second child. Did I tell her, did I tell them enough?

It’s alright. Everything is going to be alright. You are doing just fine.