Here I am at it again. I can’t quit crying. I woke up at 6 elephant on my chest. I tried to snuggle in close to my guy. He rolled over. I flipped on the DVR with the idea it was perfect timing to catch up. I hear #3 whisper from the floor. “No, I don’t want you.” I glance over and wondered how she got there. I knew I had to get up early too many things to do.
My to-do list. Final clean out of my university office. Student files, tons of student files that I must hold onto for a year. Turn in my key. It will be sad. A key to the past but also letting go for the future. IPFW was my security blanket. I could sit out there and gather my bearings and figure out who I am. And here I am again wondering hallowed halls of a building and a life that I never have. The possibilities seem endless. But scary. How will I ever relate to these kids? I am used to adult children.
Back to my to-do list. Copies of my Indiana University transcripts, Copies of my Praxis Test scores, copies of my social security card, copy of my check voided, copy of a note from my boss at IPFW that says how many years experience I have. Copy of the proof I was born. And retirement #. Oh yea, I will have a retirement. My retirement fund was in a penny jar and likely had all the stale, old, crusty, pennies that gathered at the bottom of my purse but grossed me out enough to be granted a reprieve into the mason jar.
Off track again you to do list. Curriculum. For a year now I have heard my guy complain about the “new” way to do things coming down from Indy (or the state). You know, the politicians that decide how teachers should teach. They want each child to determine in elementary who they are meant to be from the get go. Think of college majors but for elementary. Once that decision is made they are set on a path. A path amply named “Pathways” by our lovely politicians. Well that path tells me how to do it. A text book tells me what to teach on what day. Where do I fit into that. I sit in my boss’ office and say, “Can I put myself in there?” “Well yes, that is exactly what we want and why we hired you.” I remind myself, “Teaching isn’t the problem. It never was.”
To do list continued. Gotta get certified in CPR. Check. Gotta satisfy the state that I am qualified to teach children. Check. Gotta get my classroom ready. Gotta paint my classroom. Gotta disinfect all the desks in my room. And oh yea my students desks have screw legs that make them all at different levels. Gotta screw them all so they are same level. Gotta collaborate with English 9 teacher and try and swerve and miss her curriculum while still scaffolding on what she is doing. Gotta clean my house, do laundry, vacuum, actually make dinner, pay attention to my guy, shop for professional attire and scrub my damn toilets (they need it bad).
This to-do list though it distracts me. It takes me away from what matters. I am one of the lucky moms who gets to do this every summer. I get to be home with my kiddos every single second. And amazingly I just signed a contract that will allow me this for years to come. And for the last three weeks I have done anything but. I have been a bad distracted mother. They probably wonder why I won’t just settle down.
Sit with me and read a book. “No, I gotta email this lady back.”
Momma, wanna go swimming with us. “Honey, I gotta finish looking at this textbook.”
Hey, you wanna watch a movie? That one you taped a few weeks ago? “Well, I do but I should really sit down and look over this paperwork.”
Can we go shopping? “Not today. Too busy honey.”
I am not the first mother to work. I won’t be the last. I just pray we all survive. I feel so disconnected from them all. We cuddle at the first of every morning and we love at the end of every night and there are fleeting moments in between. But is it enough?
I suppose my thinking I am not enough is only just beginning. I am just not sure I can handle it. The plight I contend with is, “My presence is needed.” But my job can provide things that my family needs and wants and has done with out.
These aren’t things like fancy vacations and new carpet. These are survival things. Like dental insurance for better dental care. We have afforded what we could but it was never enough. It is eye insurance for eye exams we stretched out to every two years. Or it is not having to make payment arrangements on each and every medical bill we get. It will mean plopping down the money to pay then and there and finally take advantage of that discount they always try and coax us into if we paid right now.
It is so college can be an option because really in our house it isn’t. My girls will go to college or some sort of secondary institution. But how can I tell them they have to go if I cannot provide them with at least some financial backing. It is a house in order that works as it should. And bottom line it is extra money in the bank. Money that hasn’t been there and will allow us some room to breath and a little less stress and maybe just maybe we can buy that carpet when we save up the money.
But when they say, “Mommy, please don’t go.” It is hard. I suck it up. I know it is for the best and I know I am not the only one. And maybe that helps. But mostly not. Instead, I just know that I am doing what I need to do for my family. But now, we are in summer. I do have a lot to do. But nothing is more important than the job I have right here.