Nearly four years ago, on the very first day of school at my first permanent, full-time teaching job, a fresh-faced seventh grader in my homeroom stuck out her hand and introduced herself.
"Hi, I'm Talky Girl and I talk alot! But I'm really nice!"
And she was. And she did talk a lot. But she made that first year a little bit more bearable. It was a rough year for me personally (moving 600 miles to start a new career, the passing of my mother-in-law, being separated from Hubby while he dealt with his mother's estate and selling our house, plus my mother nearly losing her home in the San Diego fires, to name just a few of the bumps in my road.) I was doing my best to keep my head above water and kids like Talky Girl made it a little easier. She was a good kid, an average student, but a kid ready with a laugh and a hug. She once told me that she spent more time with me than she did with her own mom and would sometimes slip and call me mom. She'd realize her mistake and just giggle and giggle.
I have her sister this year and she's a delightful child as well. She's very quiet compared to her older sister (perhaps she hasn't ever been able to get a word in edgewise). She's rarely absent so I was a bit surprised today when she wasn't in school.
"Oh, she's out today because her sister was having her baby last night," the kids informed me.
"Really?" I said, thinking it must be another sister.
I found out later that day that it wasn't an older sister. It was Talky Girl. She's barely fifteen and is finishing up her sophomore year at The High School.
I can't tell you how this saddens me. I last saw Talky Girl this fall (and she must have already been pregnant at the time) and she was just raving about how much fun high school was and how she loved being on the color guard team and she was doing really good with her grades.
And now she has a baby.
And she doesn't even have a driver's license.