Better and Worse

Volume 58:1
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Better and Worse

Author Hollie J. Wise

This essay, which won third place in the 2018 Richard H. Cracroft Personal Essay Contest, recounts the author’s experience teaching kindergarten while battling the effects of an undiagnosable illness. When Doctor 6 comes up empty, she knows she must take a temporary leave of absence from teaching.

Years have now passed, the illness has still not been diagnosed, and she has not returned to teaching. “Even as I question whether I made the right choice, love focuses this truth in my view: I am mine—for better and worse. And love records that I was theirs, the children’s, too. . . . The gift of kindergarten is that tomorrow always begins anew. . . . This is how I want to remember it: a new kindergarten day. The morning light comes in from the solarium. Their fresh, little faces look up at me from our blue rug. As I begin the morning, the familiarity of our routing affirms belonging.”

“Good morning, boys and girls.”

“Good morning, Miss Wise.”