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.