Also known as the moments that make things like toileting His Majesty and Ritalingate totally worth it. I was at another middle school helping out with scoliosis screening when Shoe Girl came into the nurse's office to use the bathroom. (If you're new, find some history on Shoe Girl here, here, and here.) She had sprouted since last year and I barely recognized her. She came and gave me a hug and told me how she remembers me, how much better things are at the house than last year ("but my brothers still fight with each other!"), and how much better her feet feel. I thought I was over the moon with happiness for her, until as she was leaving she asked, "Are you the nurse at this school now?" I told her that I was just visiting to help out with screening, and got a typical 7th grade response: "That sucks."
"That sucks" in response to me not being her nurse is probably the best compliment I've ever received on this job.
I was back at the school a couple days later for more screening, including Shoe Girl's class. She was all over me again, and normally I can't say I enjoy bear hugs from people reeking of cigarette smoke, as she still sadly does. But, I'll let this girl hug me all day long if she wants - she needs to know someone cares about her. As we parted, she told me I should come by her house sometime. I didn't tell her I don't have the appropriate bullet-proof wear that I am sure I'd need if I ever met her mom face-to-face.