The mother I’ve been talking about is kind of a wreck. However, she is a good mother, in lots of ways.
Her children have about 500 books. No, she doesn’t read to her children (I’m guessing, as of yesterday, that she can’t), but their father does, sometimes, and the kids like to look at their books.
She showed up to her parent conference. She didn’t want to, but she did.
She dresses her daughter appropriately for school and for bad weather. The little one shows up in clean, nice, well-fitting clothes. She has snowpants and warm boots, a good jacket, hat, scarf, and mittens. And she knows how to put them on and take them off by herself. (This is big stuff, which you might not realize if you are not the teacher of urban, low-income kids. Many of my kids come to school in clothes that are too big or too tight, and that smell of their mothers’ cigarette smoke. They have no boots, no snowpants, jackets that don’t fit (and have broken zippers and aren’t warm enough anyway), and they often have no mittens.
And when she comes to pick her daughter up early some days, the little one says, “Mama!” and hugs her, and Mom hugs back, and both of them are glowing.