The past several days have been very, very big for Team Roberts. Let's get one thing out of the way immediately...
NO, I am NOT pregnant. :)
However, come this August, things will be very different for our family, because not only will Luke be starting kindergarten, I will be starting a new job of stay-at-home mom.
Some decisions take a lot of time from first inception of an idea to its ultimate execution.
This one? Seriously, about four days.
Last week was the first week of summer vacation. This week, I was to have a four-day English-Language Arts training, and next week a three-day AVID training. Ordinarily, these events fire me up. In teaching, after all, hope springs eternal; no matter how rough a current or recently passed school year may be, next year will be awesome. Everything will be better next year.
I am exhausted. And there's an exhaustion that comes for every teacher upon the conclusion of every school year, and then there's the exhaustion I felt two weeks ago. It's an exhaustion of mind, body, spirit, even soul. Sometimes the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. But this time, the spirit was even like, "Nah, girl. Uh-uh."
Last Thursday, thoughts started creeping in. They started as, "Well, maybe I teach in '14-'15, and then I will stay home for a few years." I said this out loud to Jeremy as we drove to a wedding on Saturday, and we agreed to start thinking on it. One more year.
On Sunday, we got a nice little "egg" (read: check :D) that felt like a God thing.
And finally, on Monday - YESTERDAY - I re-entered work-mindset - the back-forth-rapid-fire alternation of work and personal worlds. Allow me to explain:
- 9:00ish: Get kids ready and bags packed
- 10:00ish: Get to my parents' house to visit cousins. Get Luke in the pool and Kate playing with her oldest cousin while I got out the laptop and started working on a form for an upcoming therapy evaluation for Luke. Because if I get it in sooner - which would have to be today since I have the conference all this week and most of next - then maybe we can get this feeding therapy eval done before July, and Luke really needs it. He eats such junk, and maybe if I did better he would do better, and... oh my gosh, I have to do this now.
- 11:00ish: Just finished form - even though I told my niece that I'd show her how to bake "her second favoritest cookies" in ten minutes... so I was 50 minutes late. Tessa, Tara, Sophie, and Campbell are here from Kansas, and you're working on a form because you have to go to work and if you were a better aunt/sister/mother you would have your act together...
- 12:00ish: Feed Kate lunch, check on Lukie swimming and get him snacks. Great, more chips will look awesome on his feeding log. I am the worst...
- 1:00ish: Get Luke out of pool, dried off, dressed, so we can head to his afternoon therapy
- 1:40ish: Oh yeah - parent-teacher meeting today. After that I have to run back to the house, get this and that, go back to Mom and Dad's to get Kate, then back to pick Luke up by 4:30... and gotta bake those cookies with Tessa before I leave, which would have to be done by 4:15, and then we will come back over and swim since Jeremy has to work late, but then I have to pick up the house and be up early to make it to the conference on time and--
- 1:50ish: OH MY GOD... I AM NOT LIVING MY LIFE. I AM SURVIVING IT. I. JUST. CAN'T. DO. THIS.
Before I went to take Luke in to school and meet with his teacher, I texted Jeremy that I don't think I can wait a year. Now's the time, and I don't think I can un-feel these feelings.
Here's the thing: I put on a brave face at work, or at least I like to believe I do. I'm a people pleaser, so if I'm at work, I want to be the best dang teacher, colleague, AVID coordinator, and mentor I can be. Period. But in the back of my head I think about my children. I really need to be doing more for Luke. He's eating junk. He's made great progress with communication but still has so far to go. And Kate... how's her eye doing? Is she showing any signs of "the big A"? Am I missing what matters most with her? Have I already missed too much with Luke? My kids are getting the short end of the stick. I am the worst. I never felt at ease.
And then I'd look at the students in my classroom each period - students I adore and have cherished the chance to teach. And then the nagging doubt came in again. Yes, they know you care about them, blah blah, whatever. But are you really teaching them anything? Are they better readers because of you? Better writers? They deserve your best, and they aren't getting it. And you aren't even using the class set of iPads enough. You aren't growing professionally the way you should. You aren't good enough at this. Self-doubt at every turn.
Sometimes, things are simple, and they're clear.
I could feel God telling me: "Let go."
And so... here I am. I have resigned. I have a classroom to clean out, files on my computer to save and transfer to a home laptop, and a whole new chapter of my life to figure out. It's crazy.
To those of you I worked with at GHS and in GCISD: oh my goodness will I miss you. I had an epiphany at the end of the school year. One night, as I scrounged up the energy to write Luke and Kate's teachers thank you notes to go with their gifts even though I was worn the BLEEP out: like us, they are teachers. Like us, they have lives outside of school to which they are devoted. And like us, their job grows more difficult all the time - more tasks to complete with fewer resources to do them. At a time I felt profoundly unappreciated and depleted in my own job, it occurred to me that the people who watch my Luke and Kate feel similarly exhausted - and yet they regularly pull from within the best part of themselves to teach my children. To love on them when they need it, and to teach them (even if it means being firm with them) when they need it. And they do this so well with my kiddos even though they are exhausted. What an incredible gift they give my children... and what an incredible gift we give the children of others. We deserve so much more than we get, BUT I hope that you find time to remember that second to parenting these kids (and let's be real, in some cases, you ARE their parents), you're doing the most important work in the world. I'm honored to have worked with you and call many of you friends, and if you play your cards right, I just may substitute teach for you. ;)
To those of you I taught at GHS, particularly those from this past year: You are NOT why I'm leaving. You are why it is very, very hard to say goodbye though. I hate to offend students who aren't in this category, but I have two favorite sets of students from my eleven years teaching: my final group at JJ Pearce in '06-'07, and my GHS Mustangs from '13-'14. I know with all my heart that the Lord brought me you guys this school year when my heart was heavy from leaving my children to come back to work. And I think there's a kind of symmetry to the the fact that my beloved JJP Mustangs sent me off at the end of that chapter, and my precious Grapevine Mustangs send me off to this new endeavor. But to anyone I've taught ever (because there's a possible nine years' worth of you that are like, "WELL THANKS A LOT MISS EUBANKS/MRS. ROBERTS ;D), know that you occupy a special place in my heart.
To my family: I love you!
To Jeremy: you have been incredible in supporting me on this. I can't wait to make out with your face. :)
To anyone who is a stay-at-home mom in the DFW area: PLEASE HANG OUT WITH ME IN THE FALL AND BE MY FRIEND, BECAUSE I AM AFRAID I WILL HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING. : )
Thanks for reading the whole post, framily! :) Stay tuned, and love to all!