I had a high school moment the other day. Literally. I opened Facebook to find an invitation to my 25th high school reunion. (Honestly, where does the time go?) I looked at the date and realized that my doctor's appointment to remove my trach is two days after the reunion. So of course, my first reaction was nope, not going. I didn't want all the cool kids from high school, who I spent so much time wanting to be, to see me with a trach. It is so not cool.
For about 24 hours, that really bugged me. I really wanted to see my old friends (and by old, I don't mean age, I mean, these are the folks who got me through those horrible formative teenage years!) Everyone who matters to me knows what I have gone through this year. The trach is simply one of the more visible markers of my struggle. I can't let that keep me from seeing my friends, who, I am hoping, want to see me too, trach or no trach. Of course I want it gone, I want it gone more than anything I have ever wanted before. But I realized I don't want it gone because of what the cool kids might think. No, I want it gone so that I can talk without thinking about breathing and so that I don't have to spend major chunks of my day dealing with the cleaning and maintenance of it and so that I can hug someone without the trach being pushed uncomfortably into my neck. I want it gone so my little one can sit on my lap and rest his head on me. I want it gone so I can wear all the cute scarves I have been stockpiling. I want it gone so I can start to feel normal again. I want it gone so I can ride the rollercoasters when we take my daughter to the amusement park for her birthday. I want it gone so I can look in the mirror and not have to stare into it. There are so many, many reasons I want the trach gone, the least important of which involves the cool kids from high school. So, I changed my RSVP. I will be at that reunion, trach or no trach,
In other news, you may have noticed that summer is beginning to wind down and we are thinking about back to school prep. (Before I go any further, do you remember the way back years when summer didn't begin winding down until the end of August? It is July 30th...that should be smack dab in the middle of summer.) I am having a bit of an identity crisis looking at the calendar. This year will mark my 18th year in the classroom, all at one school site. For only the second time in my career, I will not be opening my classroom. The only other time I have missed the beginning of school is when my middle child was born just a few days before school started in 2008. But here I am, not doing anything to get ready for my new class. of kiddos. I have no school projects going, I haven't spent any money on classroom supplies (I know one husband who is quite thrilled with that!), I haven't even made any lists. Who am I????
The blessing of this identity crisis, the really, truly sparkly part is that for the first time since my children were born, I get to play Mommy on the first day of school. I have never taken my kids to school the first day and I have never been able to volunteer in their classrooms. I usually have to wait until Back to School night to introduce myself to their teachers and explain why I won't be around much during the year.
The not so fabulous side of this, the spitball side, is that I have no control over what will happen in my classroom this year. (We all know what a control freak I can be about certain things, but I am not unique in this. Ask any teacher if they have control issues, I can guarantee that 99% will say yes and the other 1% is deluded or lying.) Someone else will set up the room to their specifications and put up bulletin boards of their choosing. Someone else will welcome my students and wipe away their tears the first day and get love notes from them. Someone else will teach them their procedures for lining up and moving around the room. Someone else will teach them. When I go back to work in February, I will be the substitute teacher.
I met up with part of my school family this morning and someone made the comment that I must be relieved not to be going back in a few weeks. I know that when I am in the thick of the school year and I have a million and one things going on, I wish hard for some downtime. But the truth of the matter is, deep down in my core, I miss teaching more than I ever thought possible. It is not just a job I am missing, it is a part of who I am. A part my kids wish I would turn off once in a while, but still, a big part of me. A few times during the last nine months I have been asked the question, "What will you do if you can't go back to teaching?" I have yet to come up with a suitable answer because I honestly don't know. Hopefully, I never have to find out.
Okay, I think that is enough musing for today. Go out and enjoy the rest of your summer...or stay in and enjoy your air-conditioning!
Love and sparkles,