Back in March, when Blythe was still a-kickin' and squirming in my belly, I wrote about my decision to stay home with her once she arrived. I wrote then: "It doesn't surprise me that as I'm writing this I'm getting teary eyed. I am so very excited to meet and welcome my daughter and bring her home. I am looking forward to devoting my days to her. However, I still feel a loss in letting teaching go for this time."
Today is the first day of school.
Today is the first day in 22 YEARS that I have not gone back to school after a summer break.
I knew today was coming, and I knew it would be difficult. I didn't think I would feel it so viscerally though. If you have read any of my TEACHING posts, you know I LOVED teaching.
As I have spent some time processing it all, I think I am more concerned that I will lose my identity as a teacher, as I know I will not cease being a teacher. I am not concerned about filling my days, as those of you that are parents know my days will be full. I am not concerned about regretting my decision, as all it takes is one look or giggle from Blythe to know I'm where I want to, and need to, be. But still the loss is real, and it will take time to adjust.
Brent has told me numerous times that although I was a great teacher, I am a great mother too and will find purpose and joy in this job too. My previous colleagues have been so supportive, knowing first hand and telling me how hard it would be to give "my all" to teaching right now. My mom and my sister and my in-laws that have all stayed home or are staying home have filled me stories upon stories of their beautiful days spent loving their children, and their zero regrets in leaving their jobs. A great friend of mine, who recently gave up teaching to pursue a counseling degree, said, "The first day of school gets me every time. There is purpose though. And you get to hold your purpose first hand." And my Lord has assured me He will be here with me every step as I figure out this new journey.
And so, today I didn't have my first day outfit laid out, I didn't go early and pray over all my students' desks, and today I didn't get to make new students feel comfortable, or make a classroom of nerves and hormones laugh.
But today I got to let my daughter sleep in after she had a rough night, and I got to let her wear her pjs until ten o'clock. Today I prayed over her as I sang her to sleep and laid her down for her nap. And today I got to tickle her belly and make her laugh. And today I had to trust that other teachers were taking care of "my" students, as I took care of my daughter.
And someday I'll have another "first day of school." I will. But today I won't. Today I will hold my new purpose in my arms, and comfort her when she cries. Someday I'll get to greet new students and think of new and creative lessons for them. I will. But today I won't. Today I will read to my baby girl, and take her for a walk and teach her about the wind blowing through the trees.
Today is not my first day of school.
But today is the first day Blythe sat up on her own for more than a minute, and I got to see it.
I'll be alright. And I will still be a teacher. I will.
Now….about this no paycheck business…… :)
[And class of 2013, you better believe I'm still watching you, rooting for you, and expecting you to do great things!]