Today was one of those Big-Picture days. One of those days when, after talking with a girl you’ve been working with for three years, you sit in a bathroom and cry for a minute at work. Not because she said anything wrong. Not because she was cruel or indifferent to the advice you’ve been giving forever. No, you sit and cry because she thanks you profusely for no reason at all. Just because you said you were proud of her. Just because you wanted her to do something with her life. Just because, after all this time you were giving up on the teenagers on your caseload because none of them ever seemed to listen to you or care about anything you had to say, but then this one says thank you. And she tells you she has your number on speed dial in case she needs you to talk her through a new experience. Because she doesn’t have anyone else to do it.

So you sit and cry, because you’re not even really qualified to do it. You’re not her mother, or her sibling. You’re not related at all, you’re not even her teacher or her principal. You’re just some idiot working on keeping her own life together who, every once in a while, has decent advice to give.

And it gives you a glimpse of the things you should be thankful for. The things you should write about. Her little, meek, heart-felt thank you gives you hope. Reminds you of why you started.

So, you readjust the mirror with which you’ve been viewing your own life, and you wipe your eyes. You straighten the picture, and you work on getting your shit together. And you smile, just a little. As the picture comes into focus.

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