As I was enjoying dinner with my girls tonight, I looked over at our wipe off calendar at the date. I look at this calendar about seventy-five times a day, but for some reason, this glance this evening took my breath away. July 25. I couldn’t believe it. And, I have to admit, my heart sank a bit. See, in one short month, everything will change.
In one short month, I will walk away from my girls and into the classroom. I will implement lessons I have never taught to students I have never met. I will have put together a course that, for the first time, will use a book and movie as its content. I will start fresh, with new material and new students, and it will be sink or swim. I will meet the anxious glances and nervous giggles of two different classrooms of different first-year students. I will have to turn away from the, “I will miss you SO much, Mommy” eyes at home and into the, “Please don’t make this suck” eyes of my students. I will have to hang up my Mommy hat for hours on end, donning the Associate Lecturer/Mentor/Tutor hat that my work demands I wear. My roles will change.
In one short month, my kids will have to fight for my attention with my students. My kids will beg me to play while the papers sit on my desk, glaring at me with their judgy eyes, nagging to be graded. I will be torn between having fun and being Mommy and doing what needs to be done to keep my students progressing and growing as writers. Emails will blink at me from my phone, beckoning me to put out fires that exist beyond the walls of my house. “I hate to bother you, but can you look at this?” will be a line I read over and over, while my kids play in front of me, knowing Mommy’s students need Mommy right now. They will smile at me, asking me to watch them play, while I type a quick response back to the student, praying my grammar was correct in the email so as to lead by rushed example. My attention will be divided by what I want to do and what I should do. My priorities will change.
In one short month, my husband will, as per usual, become third or fourth on my list. Between quick, “How was your day”s, to, “You’ll never guess what this student said today”s, he will feel the strain. He will smile and sigh when I once again need to grade papers instead of watching TV with him on the couch after bedtime. He will sit by me, laughing with Friends while I scratch my head, bite my purple pen, and try to figure out what I can do better to get my students to understand their own voices. Weekends will be full of, “Will you please entertain them so I can get this done?” instead of, “Oh, let’s go do that fun thing right now!” My friends who don’t get it will, inevitably, not get the attention they deserve. Our communication will be reduced to text messages; promises of, “Once this is over, we will get together” will likely ring hollow. I will become that person who only contacts someone when she needs something for a while. My relationships will change.
In one short month, I will continue my own education and go back to the classroom on the other side of the podium. I will have papers to write, things to read, assignments to do. My online class from this summer will be a distant memory as I sit in the classroom to giggle my own nervous giggles with first day jitters. I will have new responsibilities, be graded for my work and efforts, and attempt to do what needs to be done to hold my own academically. I will be evaluated for my performance on both sides of the classroom. My focus will change.
In one short month, so many aspects of my life will change. Back to school season allows for a multitude of transformations, but the good news is, none of them are permanent. Everything eventually will even out, water will find its level, and my world shall step away from the brink of chaos. My life, all of it, will finally find a rhythm. My kids will get the attention they need. My husband and I eventually shall find time for each other again, and my friends and I will hang out (even just once counts). My students shall find their pace and voice, and they will go beyond my expectations time and again. I will feel whole, not pulled apart a million ways to Sunday. Everything has a season. And, as my world spins out of control and then back again, pulled together by the gravity of reality and the need for serenity in the face of spastic motion, I will remember that all of it is worth it. My life may seem absolutely crazy in one short month, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It will get overwhelming, insane, and it will test my patience and sanity…
But it will never be enough to make me quit.
It’s all too important to give up on.