Thursday, August 19, 2010

Clubs

Well, it's back-to-school time. For the first time in more years than I want to admit to, I will not be walking into a school building after a whirlwind summer vacation to begin another year of amazing little miracles.

It's very weird.

Considering that it's nearly 4 in the morning and Luke has been partying and kicking since 2, I guess that's a good thing because I'd be exhausted if I had to go anywhere anytime soon, but it's still very weird.

In honesty, teaching has never been a job that I've loved. Don't get me wrong...there have been many aspects to teaching that I've loved, but the actual job (and pay and lack of authority to do what is right for my kids without a fight and all the bureaucratic red tape) of teaching has not been so endearing to me. I planned to be (and was for a bit) in public relations and/or marketing. That's what I majored in. If I am *really* honest, I got my Master's in Education because John and I had been dating for a while as we both wrapped up our undergraduate degrees and he decided he was going to go to graduate school for environmental engineering. (Yeah, my civil/environmental engineer-turned-pilot.) Since HE was going to grad school, well, I certainly was too!!! And since I pretty much assumed our dating-for-a-while was leading to the altar at some point (which is another story entirely!), I figured he'd become a pretty successful engineer, we'd move back to Northern Virginia (of course it was Northern Virginia vs. just Virginia back then when I didn't think there were too many places worth being outside of Northern Virginia), we'd have 3-4 kids, a dog or two and a lovely suburban home with summer pool parties and potlucks with neighbors on the weekends.

So, what job would work well with that lifestyle?

Kindergarten teacher, of course!! It was perfect! I could play with kids all day (always have loved kids), wear those cute teacher clothes, work from 8-3, Monday thru Friday and best--have the summer and all the great holidays off! It wouldn't matter that I made peanuts because John would have a great job and life would just be idyllic.

(In my head, I am hearing Dr. Phil ask me, "So how'd that work out for you?")

In the course of my graduate program, I realized that there was FAR more to teaching than most generally assume, and I thought that I'd perhaps be better off as an administrator (because frankly, I was NOT thrilled with the way I felt so many schools were being run) or as a textbook writer. Hence my degree being in Curriculum, Instruction and Supervision vs. Elementary Education. At the time in Virginia, though (and maybe still?) I had to have licensure and experience as a classroom teacher before I could move into administration, so I chose K-6, figuring I'd teach kindergarten a few years, move into admin and then on to textbook writing.

Long story short, my marriage proposal was, "I got a flight contract to the Marine Corps and I'm signing it," and I was then grateful that I had my teaching licensure because I didn't know much about military wives, but I knew careers for them were difficult due to all the transition, and nurses and teachers always seemed to be able to work. After we first married, I spent a while in PR because I could and did make WAY more money than I would as a teacher, but once we moved to NC and settled, we weren't in an area that I could do much more (without a heckuva commute) than teach.

And I did. And though there were so many days I was tired and frustrated and aggravated and cried and promised, "THIS IS THE LAST YEAR!!!!!" I was so, so blessed with amazing things.

Friendships in my colleagues that to this day sustain me.
Friendships in parents that I treasure.
The honor and the privilege of 'mothering', if only in a semi-surrogate way, hundreds and hundreds of incredible miracles in the form of precious little boys and girls.

I don't know if I was meant to be a teacher, but I DO know that God placed each and every child in my care for a reason. Many parents are sweet to me and tell me how I was a Godsend to them. They have no idea that they have it backwards.

So...making the decision to not go back after Matthew died was truly gut-wrenching. I missed my students and I missed my collegial friends.

As my friends are heading back in just a few hours, I feel like I've been kicked out of a club.

Granted, it's more that I dropped out of the club with this leave of absence, but my loss is the same nonetheless.

I will miss all the hustle and bustle that comes with setting up my room and getting ready to welcome 20+ new little lives into my heart.

I will miss all the inside-jokes and commiserating over new policies and procedures with my 'teacher friends'.

I will miss the squeezing in as much as we can possibly share about our mornings into our very, very short lunch breaks.

I feel like I am yet again losing an identity.

I thought when I finally dropped out of the Teacher Club, it would be for the Mommy Club.

Who knew it would be the Mommies Without Their Babies Club?

We made the right decision--me taking this year (and probably many more in the years to come with Luke) off...we're still fresh from losing Matthew and precariously balancing the joy and anxiety that comes with growing and bonding with Luke. We can, for now, financially afford to have me focus on taking care of me and the baby and we feel like I have enough stress in my life as it is--there's no need to add more into the mix if we don't have to.

But I admit, and I never thought I would...I miss the Teacher Club and am thinking of all my friends as they return.

26 comments:

  1. just for thought....there are 4 engineers in Mark's immediate family (he was the dumb one a got a criminal justice degree to become a pilot) None of them have had much luck in long term jobs with the economy and with so many jobs going overseas...one the other hand of his sisters: 1 is a BLM and the other is a teacher...

    Kayleigh has decided to be a teacher too...K-5 because she will have the same problem you had...the students will all be taller than she is... she did get that 1/4 inch extra though!

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  2. I have been in and out of the education business for years...teaching preschool and working in a variety of positions at public school...ESL tutor, teachers aide, special education para, etc. I took some time off when James was young and I remember feeling the same way during back to school time. Although, of course, I was so glad to stay home with James and placed my focus there...I still missed the freshness of being part of all the new school year happenings. I am back working in education again...and although I always drag my feet at embracing a new year and saying good-bye to summer, there is a part of me that truly loves the excitement of a new beginning...fresh school supplies, a clean slate, a new year full of new possibilities. I know what you are missing...and boy do I know about plans turning out differently than expected. Praying for you as you adjust to yet another new plan...

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  3. i hope you sleep in and enjoy today in a way that only you can enjoy!!! luke is one blessed little boy!

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  4. I get it! As I sat in the waiting room waiting for the girls to finish their dance class I almost cried. Hearing barre music and a teacher counting off the beat makes me ache to teach dance again. But, when I sit back and remember the last few years I taught...I wasn't enjoying it, for many of the same reasons you gave. God gave me an ability, and someday, if He chooses, I'll get to use it again. In the mean time I have to learn to just sit on the sidelines.

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  5. I am right there with you! I see all of the comments my teacher friends make on facebook and there is a moment of "Oh, I miss that." It is hard to put something down after 12 years. Then, I remember that this was the plan all along. This is where I want to be. Not necessarily with the added grief of losing a child. Well, not at all with the added grief of losing a child. I promise you will not at all regret being home with Luke. I am not saying that there won't be days that you meet John at the door, make the hand off, get in your car, and enjoy some quiet mommy time. Those days will come but the good days will far outweigh the difficult ones.

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  6. Why are good decisions often the most difficult?! Middle school taught us how great it is to be a part of THAT group. :) I am so glad you are taking care of YOU and Luke. You're on the same path as you had hoped you would be...but you've encountered some unexpected turns and boulders and streams to cross. Love you!

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  7. I have had a lot of the same feelings about not going back. It is hard to lose that part of your identity.

    Luke will be here before you know it though. And if you ever feel the need to come "mother" a little one I know Kate would LOVE to see you. And I love to see you too :).

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  8. Ah, but you are on the precipise of a new club. In a few months you wont just be in the mommies without babies club.

    You will discover the mommies who lay in bed gazing and cooing at their newborns while they lazily lay in their pajamas until a full bladder or dirty diaper drive them out of bed club.

    The eating dry cereal on the couch watching Nick Jr. because your 2yo wants to "sit you" club.

    The "how could I possibly leave you to be anywhere else?!" club.

    And I promise you, that while in a few years you'll wonder whatever possessed you to leave the old club behind, you'll be so glad you did. That club will always be there waiting for you to come back to it, but this club you are entering now is for a limited time only. :)

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  9. :) I'm glad you can take this time off with Luke. You deserve it, enjoy!!

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  10. Hugs ~ hoping the bittersweet feelings are soon replaced by "who-hoo! I am not stressed out and beholden to the powers that be and politics of education"

    I worked for 6 years on my degrees...was supervised for 3, and practiced for 5. It seems like a life time ago. I am just not that person anymore!

    Now that I am at home...I can honestly say that I will (hopefully) never go back. For me, home and home schooling my kids is the best choice. Your choices will be the best for you and Luke, because you are a good mama!

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  11. I felt the same way after Eryn was born. Everyone went back to school without me! I think it's in our blood. Now...Would that be considered a blood-borne pathogen??? Love Ya!

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  12. My door is always open if you miss it to much. hehehe. I am right across from your old room. :)

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  13. I completely agree with hiswife518! You are about to be a part of a new club, and with it will come a whole new identity.
    I was a teacher in my "other life" too, and it was hard to give up. I felt like I lost all my friends. But a lot of those teacher friends also took time off to be with their babies...and they were still there for me as I made my way into the new mommy world. It was tough, but I made it.
    I don't know if you've ever heard of MOPS, but it is a WONDERFUL group to be a part of. There is also MOMS Club. Both of those groups were such a salvation to me when I had my first baby.
    I too was a teacher who wasn't quite sure if it was my calling. Let me tell ya...you will still be teaching even if you aren't in the classroom! :)

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  14. I always thought teaching would be a cool job. I have no doubt that you were awesome at it, but you know what else you're awesome at? Making beautiful baby boys! And even though you aren't in school right now, I know they'll keep your spot reserved in said club.

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  15. Ah, Jeff is an environmental engineer. Did not know your J studied that as well ...

    So, back to school, enjoy the time off. I do get the conflicted feelings, I have that too re: work and life. Happy you get to spend some time enjoying your little Luke. XO, J

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  16. So glad you do not have to work right now. It's interesting how you ended up being a teacher. Soon lucky Luke will have a wonderful teacher to teach him all he needs to know!

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  18. so glad you are staying home to take care of yourself and Luke :) it is funny how we can turn around and miss things we never realized we enjoyed enough to miss them isn't it? :) see, tho, that is the beauty of life -- you can always appreciate things at any point in time, no matter when they happened :)

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  19. Lori it you hit me hard with this post. As you know I teach 3rd grade and I NEVER thought in a million years I would be a teacher. I too love the bonds I have formed, but I HATE all the politics involved with it. I personally am jealous that will will get to stay home with your sweet Luke. I wish I could do the same with my rainbow! As sad as it may be for you, you honestly got the the better deal. Please enjoy it for both of us!!!

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  21. I'm sure it's really tough not to go back. Change is hard. I bet you are a wonderful teacher.

    Mrs. Renfer was my favorite teacher of all time. I had her for Language Arts in the 6th grade. She was wonderful. So petite at 4'11, blonde, and adorable, with the sweetest heart ever. In my later middle school years, my friends and I would go visit her in her classroom and catch her up on our young lives. I remember in 7th grade, she had a daughter named Cloey. I got in touch with her not too long ago and told her how much she's meant to me. Whenever anyone asks me who my favorite teacher was, I remember her with a smile.

    You remind me of her. You have such a sensitive, kind, loving heart and you also happen to be adorable and petite. ;) I'm sure YOU are THAT teacher to many, many boys and girls now turned into young men and women. I'm sure they remember Mrs. Ennis with a smile. Love you! :)

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  22. I am certain they miss you too, Lori. I know you were a bright spot in many of their lives -- both teachers and students. But, I can't say I blame you. Teachers have a rough go of it and get paid squat. I feel for them a LOT.

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  24. I think I would miss it too. I know I would miss going to my job but you are doing something much more important right now IMO!!

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  25. I can really relate to this post. I didn't go back mid year, for the following year it felt weird not having to be somewhere at a certain time. I have a friend who is starting her 1st year as a teacher this year in K. She has asked me for a lot of help, and at times I miss it, but love that I can spend every minute with Brooklyn!

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