Mothers & Daughters
Senior year in high school, I had a teacher that I wanted to “adopt” me.
She was everything that I was not. Clever, well-spoken, conscientious, cultured, a master of grammar and literary criticism. Blonde. Beautiful.
I’m not sure if she ever considered me a daughter. I know she considered my friend and classmate at the very least a daughter, a friend. This friend actually came to visit her when we were out of high school and this teacher moved to another state. I was incredibly jealous when I heard this. I didn’t say anything, of course, but I made a mental note that that was not me with this teacher.
I never had a teacher I was that friendly with. Maybe that’s because I always set the boundary somehow. I had teachers I called mother, but I never had a teacher like her that I called a mother. And I wanted that and I wanted her to know that
This friend, I was jealous of her. She often camped out at this teacher’s office during free periods. I did too, along with a few other classmates. This teacher was quite popular with our class because of her willingness to talk about her life and share her often humorous, but loving perspective on our young lives and the troubles we faced. But I noticed how this teacher talked to me and then how she talked to my friend. Sometimes I was met as an equal in conversation. But when I wasn’t equal, she’d talk to me like a child. Not necessarily talking down to me, but talking to me as if my view and reach of the world were limited. She’d always talk to my friend as an equal in consciousness. My friend was much more mentally sound than I was at the time, I knew this. But it didn’t stop from me feeling like I was loved less. That feeling sat with me for a long time, and it sometimes comes out even now, years later.
Before my junior and senior year of high school, I was your model, overachieving student. I was rough around the edges socially and my mental health was questionable, but with my grades, I was in the top 25% of my class. Then my junior and senior year came, and my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder kicked in with full, unapologetic force. My grades slipped. I was committed to a children’s psychiatric ward. I barely graduated.
Since then I consider myself a woman now, not because I’ve had sex or anything like that. But rather because I’m more aware of myself, who I am, and the conditions that challenge me to become something greater. I think if I transferred my consciousness to high school me, she’d consider me an equal like she did my friend. But that was then. And this is now.
I can’t say that I want a mother-daughter relationship with her like I had in high school. But part of me wishes I was still a part of her life because I’ve become closer to my old friend in most regards. I could stay jealous and spiteful that I wasn’t “ready” and now that I am ready it’d be weird for me to reach out with overbearing friendliness. But I choose to be happy that she was in my life to guide me, even if for a moment.
This all hit me now because I checked my social media for the first time in forever. She’s currently pregnant and excited and joyful in all ways possible.
I don’t know if she considered me a daughter like how I wanted to be. But I did and do consider her a mother — a woman to look up to and take notes on how to be and live in this world.
She’s already an amazing mother, so that kid’s gonna be lucky as hell.