In a strange way, I was the calmest I've ever been about going back to school. Did I want to go back to school? NO. Did I cry the night before? YES. But I didn't cry yesterday morning, which is the first time since having kids that that has happened. Not coincidentally, it's also the first time since having kids that I didn't spend the entire time off hoping and praying that somehow, someway, I wouldn't have to go back to work. That's not to say that I don't want for a different situation, but for whatever reason, THIS is my situation. Maybe it will change, but maybe it won't. And that's okay, because I know that I'm a teacher for a reason, and if the one kid I'm meant to help won't be in my classroom until ten years from now... well, who am I to try and change that? Of course, if someone hands me a winning lottery ticket tomorrow, I don't harbor any illusions about continuing to go to work... and that's okay too. The interesting thing about teaching is that while it's amazing to have summers off, it's also hard because it's like going back from maternity leave year after year. After 2 months off, you start to get into habits and routines and you almost forget that it's not your forever life. . So, sometimes over the summer, we go to the library and the librarian tells me about story time in the fall and how many moms love it because they can chat while the kids enjoy the stories, and I catch myself nodding for a second before I think, "Wait, wait, no, this is not my real life."
My real life is good, though. It has babies who greet me with hugs and kisses and happy squeals and a husband who always, always makes dinner. Friends who will still love me even if I can't meet at the park in the middle of the day or if I have to turn down a Wednesday night dinner out because even though I try to forgive myself and have evenings where I stay out late on a school night, sometimes dealing with 140 8th graders is EXHAUSTING. And of course, I'll always feel that little pang at wanting a little more than this, but even bigger than that is the fullness I feel at all that I have.