Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Don't cry because it's over, but smile because it happened."

As I sit here writing this post, I have so many different emotions. Over the last 48 hours, I feel like my world has been flipped upside down. Life as I know it, Monday through Friday, 8 to 4, will never be the same. How did this happen to ME?? I have cried, prayed, and said some not nice words (under my breath of course) over it and I still have the same end result.

Thursday afternoon at 4:00 I was told that we were collapsing one of our first grade classrooms. We knew it was coming but we were unsure of how it would play out. Then I was dealt the blow that it would be me that was displaced. Okay, not too surprising since I had moved down from third grade. I thought maybe we were adding an upper grade classroom and since I had experience with upper grades, it would be me. "It means you are moving to another school." I'm sorry, what? I don't think I heard you correctly. ANOTHER SCHOOL? "No, I don't think that's right. I'm not the low man on the totem pole." Turns out it was me...policy states that once school starts, seniority only counts within the affected grade level which meant I WAS the low man for first grade. In order to minimize disruption in the school, I would not be allowed to take the place of the teacher with the lowest seniority but would instead be moved to another school.

I left that afternoon determined to stay strong and willing to accept the change. I have never been scared of change and I wasn't about to let this one get me. We have suffered through far worse things so this would be a minor glitch compared to some of our other obstacles. I was given a list of schools with vacancies and told to rank my top five, and HR would call me to let me know where I was placed. I went home, helped Jody feed the boys and put them to bed...then it all came out. I cried and whined and said, "I don't want to go!" I felt like one of my kids in the middle of Target crying and throwing a tantrum over a toy. I wanted to kick and scream and have my moment.

Wait, what am I doing? I'm a thirty year old woman acting like a toddler! I can handle this. I have so many things to be thankful for. There are so many people out there that have far worse trials and tribulations. Seriously? I'm crying over this? I have two beautiful miracles from God that I am blessed to call MY children. I am lucky enough to call Jody my husband, the most caring, patient, and compassionate man I know. He chose ME and I get to be his wife for the rest of my life. We are healthy and so are our children. We have a wonderful home. It's not brand new construction with granite counters and hardwood floors but it is ours. It is where we started as husband and wife. It is where we welcomed our babies into our lives. And I have a job. I HAVE a job. So why am I so upset? I can teach at any elementary school. The curriculum is the same so what is the problem?

The problem is I am closing the door on a huge part of my life. It's more than a chapter, it's more like a saga. This is the place where I did my student teaching five years ago and I've been there ever since. I walked these halls during two pregnancies. I have made wonderful friends that I will carry with me no matter where I go. We have squealed with each other over engagements. We have advised each other on wedding plans. We have laughed and cried over the joys and devastations that come along with fertility and pregnancy. We have celebrated the births of our children. We have cried over the deaths of loved ones. We have argued over lesson plans. We have helped each other through sleepless nights because of teething babies. We have made each other laugh on the days that our jobs really wanted to make us cry. I have developed friendships that I consider to be the best, and now you're telling me that I don't get to see them everyday? I feel like I've been sucker punched. These people have become my extended family. The thought of walking in school Monday morning and not seeing these awesome women that I have been fortunate enough to work with, grow with, cry with, laugh with....just seems surreal.

As I walked into school Friday morning, I was determined to handle my last day as a Martinez Eagle with dignity and grace...I would NOT go around all day crying like a blubbering idiot. The song from Charlotte's Web, "Chin Up, Chin Up, Everybody loves a happy face," kept playing over, and over, and over in my head. Then someone hugged me. I cried. I got an e-mail telling me where I would be going. I cried. I helped pack my kid's book bags and walked them to their new teachers. I cried. I had one last chance to talk to HR and while they were sorry about the situation, they had to keep the best interest of the school in mind. At this time, the best interest was to affect as few grade levels/students/teachers as possible so nothing changed. I understood the policy and respected it which made this even harder. There are ten people on our faculty that have less seniority than me but I was leaving. The decision was made and I needed to start packing my room. I told myself it was time to move forward and I am a strong, confident, determined person and this would be a new and exciting adventure. With the help of some wonderful people, my room was completely packed up by 3:00. We filled two trucks and two Explorers and pulled out to head to my new school. As we approached the school, I had so many different thoughts. "I just wrote a check to the lunchroom...will that transfer to my new school?" "What about all my files on my computer? Can the tech dept transfer that, too?" "Where do I park?" "Can we wear jeans on Fridays?" "DID I REFILL MY ZOLOFT?!"

There is a bright side to all of this. I GET TO TEACH IN A BRAND NEW SCHOOL. Each wing has it's own teacher's lounge with a RISO and a copy machine. My room will have a new computer and a new projector. I have cabinets with doors! I get to go back to third grade. I have already met a few of the ladies on my team and they are extremely nice and already willing to help. My classroom shares a bathroom with another third grade room. My corner cabinet has a lazy Susan! Two other teachers from MES who were displaced are going to the new school too. Did I mention I get to teach in a brand new school??

I'm sure I will shed a few more tears over the next few days. Tears for my extended family that better think of me when they wear the yellow PBIS shirt! And next year when they all have to pack up their rooms to move into another school, I will be there ready to help. I'd better be invited to any future baby showers too!!

We cannot expect to grow as people, friends, spouses, teachers, and parents if we do not change. Change is not always easy but it is not always bad either. God has a plan for everything that He does. It's not always obvious to us, and it's not supposed to be. In time we may receive the answers. We may not. I truly believe that being happy and staying positive is a choice. So from this point forward I choose to begin this adventure with a happy, positive, anxious, apprehensive, and excited attitude. I did cry because it's over, but now I am smiling because it happened. In the words of Dr. Seuss, "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go."

Friday, July 22, 2011

I'm sitting here in the living room listening to Elmo and watching my boys put money in their piggy banks. I'm trying to wrap my mind around the fact that in ten very short days, I have to leave my sweet baby boys at preschool and go back to the daily grind. Where has the summer gone?! We kicked it off with an awesome and unforgettable trip to Disney World, but it certainly doesn't seem like that was seven weeks ago! I have enjoyed the life of laziness....waking up at 9:00 or later everyday, lounging around in pj's waiting for the pool to open. Swimming until 4:00, taking the boys home for a late nap and just enjoying the evening doing whatever we felt like doing.

Fast forward ten minutes....Garrett is jumping off of the furniture and Ryan just smacked me in the face with a step stool. Ten days? :) As much as I have enjoyed my time off with my two precious children and my wonderful husband, I'm excited about getting back to our routine. Sounds like a contradiction to what I wrote above, and while I constantly struggle with wanting to stay home with our boys, I love my job and the people I work with. I love feeling like I'm making a difference. I love that I might be a safe place for some children who don't always feel they have that. And I love that cliche "light-bulb moment."

I'm excited for all of the "new" that is going on this year. Garrett is starting pre-k which some days has me thrilled for him and all of his new adventures he is about to embark on, and some days has me almost in tears as I think about my baby being such a big boy! Ryan has moved up to the two-year-old room at school. He is such a little sponge these days so I know this upcoming year will be huge for him developmentally. I will be teaching first grade this year which is unchartered territory for me! I'm excited, nervous, apprehensive, and enthusiastic all in one. Jody is still teaching physics, coaching the swim team, and serving on a few new committees this year. He has attended so many trainings and meetings this summer that have energized him for a new year as well.

So as we get ready to wind down summer, I will cherish the memories we have made over the last few weeks. Ryan learned how to say "Garrett" and Garrett learned how to swim. I will miss sleeping in with my boys until we felt like waking up, taking late night (9:00) trips to Cold Stone for dessert, and heading to the pool at 6:00 for an evening swim in hopes of wearing out the kids. I will miss the silly things like not having to find socks for the boys because they can wear flip flops, crocs, or sandals with EVERYTHING! I look forward to fall which means soccer games for Garrett and Friday night football.

Farewell summer. Duty calls....Ryan just bit Garrett. Did I mention he learned how to do that too?!