The Schoolhouse

My sister got pregnant when she was oh, 18 or so. She made anyone who ever doubted her sorry they did, and got a new house and a job not too long after giving birth to a baby girl.

The job she landed was in a daycare, working as a teacher’s assistant I think. If you’ll take a moment to think back to your daycare days, you’ll remember that you’re not allowed to call the teacher by anything other than “Miss So-and-So”. And in this case, the kids all said, “Miss Hope”. That’s my sister’s name, Hope.

Hope enrolled her daughter into the daycare, and that’s where Arielle went every day of her little life. When she grew older and could talk, Hope realized she had a small problem. None of the other children were allowed to call ‘Mommy”, and that meant Arielle wouldn’t be allowed to either. I think they tried letting her say “Miss Hope” from 9-5 and “Mom” at home, but it was too confusing for Arielle. “Miss Hope” became my sister’s full-time moniker, and I think Arielle just grew completely used to it. So much so that she never stopped. And then her sister, born a few years later, and the other sister, born a few years after that, all followed suit.

Taking pity on Arielle, I said, “You can call me Mommy. Everyone should have a Mommy.” Arielle enjoyed this for a few years, and then grew out of needing one.

Whenever I’m anxious or overwhelmed, I always think back to the day I went with Hope and the kids to TJ Max. There she was, standing in the middle of an aisle looking at pillows and candle holders that she didn’t need, with three kids all running around her screaming, “Miss Hope! Miss Hope!” From the outside, it looked hope-less, but she was so calm. She just looked at me and told me to push the cart the rest of the time were in the store. And I did.

Hope has five kids now. Excuse me, Miss Hope has five kids now I mean. And they all call her that. It’s a school house wherever she goes.

It’s one of my favorite true stories.




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