My friend, and Evelyn’s nanny, had called me earlier that morning than usual and this time she did not confirm our meeting place. She explained that her daughter had overslept so her husband was on his way to pick up Evelyn but he was running behind.
The nanny and I understood the world’s expectations: working mothers should work like they have no children and mother like they have no job. We never held this expectation for each other.
My communication theory class started at 8:30 AM. The nanny’s husband probably wouldn’t arrive until around 8:45. I explained to the nanny where she could direct her husband so he would end up in front of my classroom door.
I was concerned about anyone in my department seeing my child anywhere near my classroom, but I hoped that I was close enough to the parking lot that no one would notice the late exchange. I packed up my 24-month-old the way I typically would and we headed to campus.
At the front of the classroom, I apologized to my students for bringing my daughter to class. But no one was bothered. They got into their groups to go over their writing assignments and to explain to each other where they were so far in their semester-long projects.
One student had found the perfect TED Talk for her communication analysis. A queer couple presenting about how their love story could serve as a connection for those outside of the LGBTQIA+ community to understand that love is love.
Another was working on making a list of African-American males like himself, who had no dad growing up, that he could interview about their communication styles. A third student had found a comedy club to go to, in order to perform original comedy and collect information from other comedians for his autoethnography.
All the while, Evelyn introduced herself to the class, bounced around, and colored on the whiteboard. The nanny’s husband arrived, Evelyn left, and class resumed, then ended as normal.
As I left my classroom, my department chair stood there as if he had been waiting. “Was that your daughter?”
“Don’t bring her to class.”
“Her nanny was late, only about 15 minutes.”
“I would have canceled class.”
“And have all those students miss out?”
That was how I learned the difference between my department chair and me.
Need more thought-provoking and uplifting content? Check out these pieces by the MockingOwl Roost contributors and staff.
- Synchronizing Our Timing with the Universe – Poetry
- Sputter of Acclaim – Micro-essay
- Gratitude – Micro-essay
- The Art of Sabbatical, A Breaking from Industry Standards – Essay
CLS Sandoval, PhD (she/her) is a pushcart nominated writer and communication professor with accolades in film, academia, and creative writing who speaks, signs, acts, publishes, sings, performs, writes, paints, teaches and rarely relaxes. She’s a flash fiction and poetry editor for Dark Onus Lit. She has presented over 50 times at communication conferences, published 15 academic articles, two academic books, three full-length literary collections, three chapbooks, as well as flash and poetry pieces in several literary journals, recently including Opiate Magazine, The Journal of Magical Wonder, and A Moon of One’s Own. She is raising her daughter and dog with her husband in Alhambra, CA.