"You mean you're not going to follow her to the east coast for college?" the mother said pleadingly but with a twinkle in her eye.
"Oh, wouldn't that be fun!" I answered with a laugh. I've been giving heads-up in the past couple weeks to the families I work with that there is a possibility I won't be in town next school year. Just a possibility... I don't want to surprise them with the news later on if it's really going to happen. I've been surprised and flattered at the playful resistance and genuine disappointment that's come in response. In some ways, I know that there is someone else who could do perhaps a better job than I have with these high schoolers, and I have some people in mind to pass them on to.
But it's nice to know I will be missed if I'm gone. I will miss them too... no work I've ever done is as fun as tutoring these teenagers. And it's so much more than tutoring... it has to be, to establish that rapport and gain respect and mutual "like".
I love Monday nights when I arrive at B's lovely home on the hill... and she is ready with the latest funny anecdote about one of her friends, or a photo of a piece of clothing from the Olsen twins line, Elizabeth & James, which we both love. This is my second year with her... and at times I've even shared very tiny snippets of the latest travel/boy/fun stories in my life, which seventeen year old girls gobble up.
Tuesday afternoons with C... that girl is amusing. She was quiet at first...but her humor sneaks up on you with its spontaneous quirkiness. On our second session, she was telling me how her classmates, two darling hyper girls I worked with in tandem last summer, told her that the best way to bother me was to try to "scrunch" my hair when I wear it curly. I laughed, and immediately sent a joint text to those two girls thanking them for passing on that wisdom. I explained to C that yes, I don't like my hair scrunched, and most clients wouldn't get a chance to know that, but those girls and I spent a lot of hours just the three of us, sitting in couches going insane studying Algebra, so they got comfortable enough with me to touch my hair, which doesn't commonly happen with my clients. Little fourteen year old C didn't skip a beat and responded, "Oh, don't worry, we'll get there someday." We're not there yet, but we have discovered our mutual love for the smell of freshly lit matches, so I've given her a box of Swedish matches that light extra explosively. And since we meet at my house, I let her light some of my candles during our sessions.
And then I think, I'm gonna miss these girls if I go. But even if I don't, they will soon, so one of us has to do it first.