It’s not because I’m a mom. I earned the moniker “Mother Morgan” when I was a high school English teacher.
At some point soon after I began working there, one of my students asked in a carrying voice, “Mrs. Morgan, are you pregnant?” Every woman loves to hear this question, particularly when she is neither pregnant nor especially happy about it. In response, I answered, “No, sweetie. I’m not pregnant — just fat.” I wasn’t actually fat at that point, but had a little pot belly I couldn’t lose, no matter what I tried.
Well, not to be quelled, another student asked, “Don’t you want kids?” The truth is, I wanted kids very badly, but my husband and I hadn’t been able to conceive.
“Well,” I answered, “that’s a personal question and not something you should be asking me. However, know that you’re my kids as long as you’re in my English class. I’m the person who will be on you like white on rice if you screw up, and I’ll be your cheerleader when you succeed. Don’t think you can pass my class just by showing up, and don’t think I will let you fail without a fight.”
At some point, a few of the students began to refer to me as Mother Morgan. It stuck. New students would come into the room terrified of me, the “mean teacher” but they’d still be calling me “Mother Morgan” — weird, but nice.
Some of them still do, in fact, ten years after I left the classroom. They send me messages on Facebook, asking me to read something they’ve written, or just a quick note to say hello.
My own kids think it’s funny. When I asked them what sort of teacher they think I must have been, they tell me “mean”, “strict” and “able to see stuff through walls” — whatever that means.
I went from being “Mother Morgan” to being a mom. I love that the word still applies, and that I have new pupils of my own to care for and raise.
Mother Morgan’s still around. She’s just a little more pudgy and more gray, and she does a lot more laundry than back in the day. She loves every minute of it.