I love writing and I love teaching writing. But one thing that always crushes my soul is trying to tell my students how to start off what they want to write ahem…the introduction. It’s easy enough if they’re typing- I say go ahead and just start writing and then add your intro later. Unfortunately, we haven’t figured a decent solution to taking state-mandated tests on the internets, so they are forced to write on paper for now…and that makes it difficult to go back and add the intro later. All of this to say…I have no idea where to even start with this week or last few weeks or months, even.
I guess I’ll start in September, when one of my dearest friends came to visit. ‘Twas a beautiful weekend, not only in the time well-spent, but the sun enveloped us in a way that only a sunny September Saturday could. And I had 3 panic attacks that weekend. Worst of all, in doing all things that l love- hiking with mountain views. Watching Saturday football with a good drink. Eating cheesecake. I was restless and uneasy, and all of it was because of variables associated with my job.
So, on panic attack #3, she asked me the simplest question, but one that would change my life: “Without thinking, what do you think it would take to make you…stop panicking all the damn time?”
“I want to be at home,” I said. And the whole world lifted, and I mean lifted, from my shoulders.
The thing is, choosing to stay at home, or admitting you want to stay at home, or really anything associated with choosing one way or another are so controversial no matter what the stance. For the record, I have also chosen to work (outside the home, if I’m being politically correct) for the last three years. You wonder what your choices say about you as a person. And people wonder what your choices say about them. And if you talk about your choices, then, well, people wonder if you’re making some sort of commentary on their choices.
And because it’s so controversial, I’m not even comfortable talking in depth about why I had to make this choice right now, but I want you to know…this is the definitive plan for our family right now, sprinkled with signs from above in every step.
Minutes, and I mean minutes, after I said those words out loud, one of my lifelong friends texted me and told me she is also staying at home for a little while (I am also only planning on this for a couple of years).
I went home that afternoon like the cat who ate the canary, dying to tell B what I wanted to do, but also completely terrified. When I finally let it out, he said: “I think this is the best plan for our family.” I told him what my fears were, and he said he would take care of those specifics. Without any further prompting, he did. And I am so grateful for him in a brand new way.
This doesn’t mean that it’s all hikes by the lake, Saturday vibes, and cheesecake. I am heartbroken and unearthed in leaving teaching right now. Being a teacher has defined me in a way I could have never imagined, all the while disarming me. It’s hard for me to imagine that things will go on without me. But they most certainly will.
What it boils down to, for me, right now, in this lot, is: where can I make the biggest impact? For now, that means quite literally my own backyard. In some ways I feel like a failure that I can only focus there right now. So many women in my profession are amazing in handling the demands of teaching and parenting flawlessly. I am not one of those women lately.
I don’t want the grass to grow beneath my feet. My vision for the next few years of our family life doesn’t mean a lot of Netflix-watching. I have dreams of opening a little preschool/ homeschool. Maybe I’ll write more. Maybe I’ll google recipes on how to fix crow because I am definitely eating a lot of it now. Maybe we will perfect dance of routine, maybe we’ll skate through each day.
I’ve worked for as long as I could, so the thought of anything else is a foreign land. But this much I know: I’ve always been scared to go places I’ve never been, but never once disappointed that I did.