Once again, I find myself in the position of not having written much of anything while having done a lot. This is why you shouldn’t make New Year’s Resolutions. Even in your head. They never work out quite the way you expect that they will.
Today is one of my oldest (she isn’t the oldest person, but our friendship is) friends’ birthday. When I said happy birthday, she reminded me that the surprise party we threw her for her 16th birthday was…twenty years ago. That means that our friendship will be old enough to drink on August 20th. Is it weird that I remember the day we met each other? Probably. I think it’s one of those things that is important to you when you’re 15.
So, since it’s her birthday, that means one thing. Okay, two things. The first is that we’re getting old. Eeek. The second is that summer is halfway over. Of course, watching the aisles of our local Walmart and Target fill up with school supplies this week only reinforces this fact. Somewhere in the middle of all this middleness, I find myself a little bit, well, in the middle. Not an ambivalence, really. More of a push me-pull me.
There’s a sadness that Boy is going back and won’t be here to laugh and learn and play. However, I’m ecstatic that he’s going back to friends and experiences that he can only get at school and not hanging out with me and his little sis. Okay. I’m also happy that my house will be clean for twelve hours a day instead of just three. Sort of. And I might be glad that I don’t have to listen to Dragon Ball Z Kai or, Heaven help me, Naruto every other day.
I don’t think it’s just Boy, though. I still haven’t gotten past the not teaching thing. It’s been two years. You think I’d be there already, right? I miss it, though. Not the hours or the lunch duty or the endless meetings about things that I told myself I would never go into on this blog. I miss the thrill of setting up my classroom and my lesson plans, of meeting a new group of students, and of learning everything I can about those kids, and teaching them things that they’ve never been taught before. I miss metonymy and synecdoche and alliteration. I miss poetry and plays, Frost and Ibsen, Zora Neale Hurston and William Golding. I miss the laughter and the jokes and the silliness.
I miss the look in their eyes that lights up the whole room when they get it.
And with all those things that I miss, even with all the sadness that I feel because those things are not part of my daily existence anymore, I find myself feeling a little bit of relief. All of those things that I won’t say here, but if you are a teacher, you know them, those are the things that keep me from returning. For them to tip the scales so heavily out of the favor of the joy and purest self-satisfaction that comes from teaching someone something they never knew before, from teaching people to rely on and believe in themselves….well, it speaks for itself.
Once again, I find myself in the middle. Nothing I have done since– throwing myself into cooking, photography, sewing–nothing has come close to teaching. And I don’t know whether to be happy about that or profoundly sad.