I have wanted to write about our school experience a number of times over the last few months, but something always kept me away from the keyboard. I know now that a lot of my hesitation was because I had not really made the adjustment to our new life myself.
The kids all had a great experience starting school, and I will get back to them in a separate post. Meanwhile, I was so proud of myself for how easily I made the transition to sending them to school. The flood of emails and the details involved in registration are UNREAL, but I stayed organized and tried to take it step by step. Once they were all settled into school and loving it, I embraced my time with just the little one, and we had many a thriving and active day! Oh, wait, no. That wasn’t it at all.
The truth is, the overwhelm of getting them enrolled and ready, slipped into a numbness of uncertainty and waiting. Our unused school books taunted me, whispering that I would never need them again, that I would not have that level of influence and closeness in my kids’ lives again. So I ignored them. Gabbie and I stopped doing school for her in a matter of weeks. It felt pointless to get her ahead of public school peers if I was just going to be sending her to school soon, too. But at the same time, I didn’t pack anything up, just in case anyone decided they would rather be home for school. I didn’t want to move on, then have to move back, mentally and emotionally.
So, many of our first months felt like we were in a holding pattern, waiting to see which way “normal” would tip. I didn’t even figure out a house cleaning routine, leaving mental space to go back to school without it feeling like an interference. Instead, Gabbie and I played a LOT of video games, watched a million movies, and did lots of snuggling. But I didn’t realize how much I was ignoring processing our change, and what it meant to me, until we started to decorate for Christmas.
The Christmas tree goes in the same corner as our school “locker” shelf, so it had to make its seasonal move out of the living room. No big deal, we have done it for three years before this. But the first time my husband set a stack of books aside to clear the way, the floodgates of my denial gave way to grief. I had to leave the room. I took my streaming tears to the shower, where I could sob and lament my loss without making the kids feel like I was in any way upset with them. It was ugly, but also very healing.
This time of not being a teacher also allowed me to evaluate what I really want to do with my life. When asked if I would go back to the classroom once Gabbie went to school, too, I realized just how deeply I did NOT want to do that. I had a great conversation with a friend in which I discovered don’t want to be a teacher, I want to be a librarian. And not at a school. I want to be able to help people find the resources and entertainment that they want while serving my community with my skills. Reading the description of Public Librarianship felt like someone had read my mind to design my dream job!
And so, this unexpected shift in our lives has worked out to be good for me, after all. I still don’t have a great routine, and my house is not as clean as I figured it would be with just one home with me. But I am learning how to get progressively closer to a better balance between relaxation and productivity. And, I finally know what I want to be when I grow up!