And there are moments when this does feel like some kind of home (though not the wide open spaces, hang out with my niece, bike around lakes kind of home). My students are, day by day, becoming mine. We're figuring out each other's buttons and intentionally not pushing them.
They listen to me when they won't listen to other people.
They're excited to introduce me to friends when they see me on the street.
They love stickers and lottery tickets but love it even more when I pat them on the back or tussle their hair and tell them how proud I am of them for something very specific they did.
They're my babies - through thick and thin.