Today called for heavy artillery of adult beverages in my house. None were consumed, although they were much deserved. An extremely busy week, a most difficult day, and still, another two days until the week end.
My morning was not particularly hard. I was able to get dressed, get out of the house, and get the older two boys to school on time. I was scheduled to serve as a Science Fair judge at my old school, where I worked for ten years.
I left six years ago this fall. I remember that I struggled with the decision to leave for over a year. My children were getting older, I lived too far from the school and my husband had started working in his current job, that required huge amounts of travel at the time.
I struggled for many reasons. The main one is change. I traditionally have never done well with it. I will change my wardrobe a million times. I might change my hair and it's color without too much remorse. But the big things like a place of employment, not so much.
I completed my final internship at HES school in December 1994. There were no open positions there when I graduated, so I found a job at another school where I was miserable. It was the longest six months of my life.
I doubted whether or not I had made the right career decision. I wondered if I should go back to school and get a degree in something else. At the end of the year, my position was eliminated, and I went back to the principal at HES, trying to secure ANYTHING for the following year.
As luck would have it, I was hired in mid September of 1995, after the school year had started. I was fortunate enough to work steadily, although in temporary teaching assignments until the following school year. In 1996, I finally had my own classroom with 38 of the most energetic, and bright Kindergarten students ever.
At this school, I began as a young 21 year old undergraduate. I slowly emerged to married woman, Graduate student, mother of one, struggled through the loss of one parent, to mother of two boys. More than coworkers, these people became a sort of family. We mourned our losses, we celebrated new additions and life's greatest joys. It was hard to leave them and all that history behind.
But I did. As scary as it was to go and begin again in a new place, to form new friendships and professional relationships, I understood that this was something I needed to do for my family. Matthew was nearing preschool age. I wanted him to be able to attend a school that was close to home. I wanted to be closer to home as well, and not spend the bulk of my day behind the wheel, in traffic, gathering children and getting home.
The reaction on the last day of school in 2004 was hard. As people heard that I had transferred out, the questions swirled. The tears flowed. It was surely one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I still had my doubts, but at least, I knew that my sister and I would be working together, that my children, one day, would be able to attend this school with me. I forged ahead.
The first few days of that school year were hard. As the school year began, I was preparing in a new classroom in a different school. I often thought of my old school, my friends that I had left behind, my old students. But I made new friends. I reveled in the new challenges and procedures. I enjoyed my new students. I loved being closer to home and not fighting that traffic as much.
I still keep in touch with more than a few people. Several of those Class of 1996 Kindergarten group stay in touch with me through Facebook. They are now completing their Freshman year in college, which is just astounding to me.
But today, as I walked through the old halls at HES, I did not feel too nostalgic. The last few years have been rough for the staff. Administration is not what it should be. I was GLAD that I was gone. People seemed sad. They said with longing, "Be glad you left." And I was.
Because sometimes, you need another round to realize that even decisions made fearfully and with some doubt are the right ones.
Because I would have grown to hate my job.
Because, eventually, I would have equated those beautifully hearted co-workers with the confines of that building. And would have grown to dislike both.
Today, as I skipped out after judging Fourth Grade projects, I did not leave with the usual twinge of sadness for a simpler time.
I left with gratitude.
Gratitude for the people who had helped shape that shy 21 year old young teacher. Who had supported her, helped her hone her craft, and been a second family to her, and bade her goodbye six years ago.
Gratitude for having had the courage six years ago leave something that seemed safe, but would have surely killed the best part of me.
Gratitude for having forged ahead in a journey that made me mighty uncomfortable. But forced me to grow. To adapt. To change. And like it.
Another round of blessings that would have been forever undiscovered, had I not taken that simple step.
And for that, I am incredibly grateful.