Today is my last day working as a guest media specialist at Hampton Elementary. I’ve been here since October, and I am both happy and ridiculously sad to leave. (Yep, there were tears this morning…but in my defense, I was reading aloud a story about a girl whose grandfather was dying and the chapter was called “A Sad Goodbye” and there was a student sobbing because she just recently lost her grandfather…so you see, it couldn’t be helped!)
Happy, because for so many months I’ve felt anxious and guilty about not being able to be my BEST when it comes to being Wife and Mom, and now that I am taking a break, a huge weight has been lifted and I feel like I can breathe again. (I feel like there’s at least one post about Mom Guilt forthcoming on this page….) Happy, because even though I will still be waking up at 5:30 to get my kids ready for school, I get to crawl back in bed, or at least back to the couch, and spend some alone time with my coffee, and eventually, my 4th grader, who is always extra snuggly in the morning. Happy, because I get to be there when my 6th grader gets dropped off at 2:30. I get to be there to ask her about her day when all the details are still fresh and she hasn’t become too distracted by her homework or devices to resort to those deeply unsatisfying one- or two-word answers or grunts. I feel like I haven’t been there for her the way I should’ve been, in this pivotal year of her young life. Gosh, when did she become a sixth grader? A MIDDLE SCHOOLER!?! I am in awe that she’s survived — no, excelled — thus far…without/in spite of me.
Happy, because I will finally have some time — even if it’s just an hour or two during the day — to do something completely selfish…I miss classes at the Y, I miss mid-day naps (even if I rarely take them), I miss Hulu/Netflix binges, I miss teas and lunches with my friends! I haven’t had the chance to do any of this for a while…probably not since last January, when my library internships/MLIS exams started to roll in. I am going to brush away that ever-present guilty feeling and say YES to all these things, at least for the next couple of weeks! I am going to read books for GROWN-UPS!!! And who am I kidding — I will be reading lots of everything else too.
Happy, because I will now have time to meet up with hubby for lunch dates, and be awake enough at the end of the day to spend time with him and TALK to him, instead of falling asleep with the girls every day at 9:30…okay, sometimes even earlier. I am sure he’ll be happy about this too.
But there’s a lot of sad too. Sad, because I do LOVE my work! I love the books and the cataloging and the teaching and the minutia of shelving and shelf-reading (…okay, maybe not that). I love gushing about my favorite authors and hearing students gush about theirs too.
Sad, because I am secretly afraid that this is it…that I will have gotten a small taste of what its like to feel 100% fulfilled and passionate and sure that I am IN THE RIGHT PLACE, only to never have it again.
Sad, because I’ve made friends at work, with dedicated teachers, paraprofessionals, and parent volunteers that I see day in and day out, tirelessly helping other people’s children succeed. How they continue to do this everyday, despite all the frustrations and drama that come with the job, amazes and inspires me. Seriously y’all, next time you see your child’s teacher, give them a big hug or a quick thank you — it’ll make their day no matter how small you think your gesture is.
Sad, most of all, because I will miss the students…yes, even the ones that struggle to sit still or follow directions. I will miss especially the ones who struggle, but who try really hard anyway. Never underestimate those quiet kids, or the ones who challenge your every word, or the ELL kids, or the ones that need various accommodations, or the ones who question everything you say, every book you recommend. Don’t dismiss those kids, because I can honestly say that not a day went by when I was not surprised by one of them or when I didn’t learn from them. They’ve taught me patience, grace, and forgiveness, and I look at myself and my own daughters differently because of them. Some days were truly difficult (just ask my husband and kids), but I would return in a heartbeat.
For now, though, it’s time to take off. I am sad, but I have an armful of cards and flowers that the kids and staff have given me to remind me of the good times here. Already I have plans to come back in a few weeks, but not before I’ve had a proper marathon of PJs, Downton Abbey, and tea.