Today, I say goodbye to something that has been part of my life for the past 10+ years, and I am extremely excited about it. Sure there are parts that I’ll miss, but mostly I’m just relieved and happy. So, so happy. Saying goodbye to this chapter means that I can say hello to being Mom 100%. It means I can be available to my son… at all times. It means I can be available to my husband, my dogs, my home, and myself. I can take better care of myself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I can be a better daughter, sister, and friend. This new chapter means everything. It’s how things should be. Sure, I know there will be days that will be hard, as with anything. We’ll have to forge a new path and financially things will change, but right now in my life, this is where I am meant to be. This chapter has been calling me, and it fills my heart with so much joy to finally be able to turn this page.
Today, on my last day at work, one very bubbly lady, said “you’ll never regret staying home.” This I know to be true. I had a taste of it during “maternity leave” (I put this in quotes as I roll my eyes because it wasn’t even called that because my job didn’t offer that) and summer break last summer. Going back to work when my baby was just 10 weeks old and then again when he was just 7 months made my heart break. In fact, my heart broke each day as I drove away from home and away from him. I know everybody says it, but babies grow SO FAST. You cannot get that time back, ever. While I can’t truly say for anyone else since I’m not living his or her life, I know for me that I will not regret this choice. Working for the past 14 months was a tough decision my husband and I made together for our family, with today being the glorious, luminous light at the end of that mostly dark, treacherous tunnel. Being a working mom was the hardest thing I’ve done. Throw in a move, new job (to be closer to new house and in turn have more time with baby), and husband going back to school as a full-time student, you can say our lives were a bit crazy. In addition to helping support my family monetarily while my husband transitions to a career that will improve the quality of life for all of us, in more ways than one, these past 14 months of being a full-time, working mom has given me a clear view of what it’s like on the other side and will allow me to fully appreciate where I am now.
Today, I can honestly say that I have squeezed out every last drop of love I had for my former career as a teacher. Some of it was sucked out of me by politics and lack of compensation and standardized testing…so much standardized testing. Some of it evaporated into the tension filled air I shared with miserable adults who acted like children. Most of it was poured over the students I had and care so much for. They are the reasons I dedicated the past 10+ years of my life to a mostly thankless career. But as the good teachers know, this a career that consumes your heart. When I had my son, my heart became him and the love I had for teaching simply fizzled out. Maybe one day, well into the future, it will reappear, and I’ll find a new classroom-home where I can pour my love over students again. Or not. And I’m okay with that.
Today, as I drove away from the school that I toughed-it-out at for the past 5 months, I cried huge, happy tears of relief. Then, when I looked into my son’s smiling-eyes and thought about next week and next month and next school year, I felt a weight release from me, to which I thought goodbye and good riddance.
Today, is a new day. Today is a new day.