I walk down the street from my house to the school wearing my navy blue trenchcoat and holding a pad of paper.

I am taking large strides. I am a writer and am teaching fourth graders how to write.

I feel like a grown-up and a sassy kind of cool mom.

I’m wearing the coat my sister gave me. The one with the white piping and navy buttons that makes me think of shows I’ve never seen, but should. Like the “Mod Squad” and “I Spy.”

It also makes me feel like a reporter from another time. I think I should probably put a pen over my ear to complete the transformation.

I hear the swish of my jeans and feel the gentle thump of my flat boots against the pavement. There’s just a slight bite to the air and I breathe free.

I love what I do.

I sign in at the front office and head to the classroom where Group 4 meets me. It’s their first day, and they are excited and squirrely, and all that two of the boys in my group want to write or draw or talk or yell excitedly about is wrestling.

I keep trying to hear them and redirect them, while not losing the other kids who are sitting criss-cross applesauce with me in the hallway.

As the poet and the joke writer and the comic strip creator share their ideas, the boys talk across the circle about wrestlers with names that sound like Meat Grinder and Kick the Crap Out of You. They want to write stories about them and draw them and survey kids in the class about their favorite wrestlers.

One girl writes a poem about the new year in a minute and a half. A boy in the group proudly pitches his idea for a word search.

The kids’ conversation swirls around me, and my bravado withers.

I have no idea what I’m doing.

I am a dream squelcher because I am saying things like, “We have to appeal to a larger audience” and “That sounds too violent.”

I am clearly a mom of girls. So out of my league.

On the walk home, I no longer hear my jeans swish or feel my boots. I am listening to my girls talk about gymnastics and tap dance and sharing time and P.E.

I clutch my coat around my neck to stop the air that bites and watch them race to the corner.

This piece is a free-writing exercise for a Tuesday feature called “Just Write,” hosted on a beautiful blog called The Extraordinary Ordinary. I’ll be doing this on Tuesdays whenever the mood strikes.

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