A lot of things have happened this week, and I have very little time to process things now. That’s the hard part. I wake up very early in the morning—I have for years—and so for an hour or two I can sort through what is going on with me. After that, I get to be a parent and a teacher until I go to sleep.

I hurt. That is what I am realizing now. This hurts. I do not know why it hurts, but it is like my insides being pulled out of my chest. This morning, I am thinking that the hurt is not anything abstract or grown-up or coherent. It’s tempting to attach these ideas to the pain, but I think it just hurts. I think it is, in its way, very simple.

I feel wanted, or I want to feel wanted, and it hurts.

The boy I mentioned in one of my classes who struggles with anger was like a different child yesterday. He always comes running when I walk in, because he unpacks my things for me. Yesterday, he came running with a delighted smile on his face, and he listened all through class. He acted like a good boy who wanted positive attention and thought he could have it. I have never seen him like that before. He has been obedient, and he has been angry, but I don’t think I have ever seen him delighted like that. There is another boy in there, one who can be happy and have a sense of belonging.

It took almost two years to find this boy, and I don’t expect that boy to remain on the outside, but that boy is there.

Then another boy who is continually acting the class clown pushed his seat mate over the edge yesterday in the course of the world’s absolute worst day of 3rd grade class ever. And I think he actually got something. I think he got that when he does that, he actually hurts people’s feelings. I think he got this concept that he has an impact on the world around him. He continually wants attention, and I don’t think he ever realized he has people’s attention, and what he is doing actually hurts other people. It interferes with the learning of the students around him. It interferes with what the teacher is trying to teach. I do not think he ever realized he has an impact on others. He is not this voice screaming in an empty forest, which must be what it is like for him. It was a terrible class, but I think this one child actually learned something very, very important that could well stay with him for the rest of his life.

Also, C sent a note down last night. It was Thursday night. Time to get anxious about Sunday, I imagine. Time to reach and also push. So she asked for money. She said sorry for always asking for money. She said don’t come on Sunday. The emotions I got from the letter she sent were sadness and shame. She’s going through the same cycle she often goes through, and I don’t really know how best to support her through it. But some part of me thinks what I am doing makes some kind of difference. Like the Clown Boy, whom I really love dearly, I am making some kind of impact on the world. Sometimes, it is a positive one.

As you can imagine perhaps, that’s a hard feeling to cope with. I couldn’t sleep a lot of the night, although I was utterly exhausted, and I woke up at 3 in the morning—terrified.