12 years ago today was my last day teaching high school English. We had school conferences that day, shortened classes, and minimal Saint Patty's hoopla.
I went home, waddled around a while, and went to bed, only to be awakened by my water breaking in the middle of the night. Tom scrambled to find a tarp to protect the upholstery of our new minivan from my leaky self. I, of course, told him to get a grip and get me the heck to the hospital.
But this post isn't about Tom, or about my sweet baby born 12 years ago tomorrow, or how I lost the 52 lbs of baby weight. It's about me.
How can it be 12 years since I've taught school? That's more than a decade. Do I still call myself a teacher? Should I? Do I have the right?
I taught for 6 years, yet have been "semi-retired" for 12. Now I work part-time at a church, but teaching plays no role in that position.
Was this all part of a master plan that Tom and I formulated in the 90's? Have 2 kids, stay home for a decade, then go back to work part-time? No, like a lot of things, it just kind of happened that way.
It wasn't that I was terribly opposed to having someone else watch Jake for me, but with Tom's insane hours at work and our limited support system, I just couldn't figure out how to SWING it, even part-time. It all just seemed like so MUCH.
A second master's degree to become a librarian fell by the wayside when I couldn't figure out how to care for a constantly nursing child and still attend classes.
Even though I never considered it then, and just plunged into a wonderful decade of staying home, now I wonder if I am comfortable being so dependent on my husband's income, a situation not so very different from that of my mother, who married in 19 flipping SIXTY-THREE.
If I had kept on teaching, I would be making $75,000 by now. Going back tomorrow would earn me far less, but not nearly as little as I make at my part-time job, which pays for the groceries. Almost.
6 years teaching, 12 years not.
This makes me think of other milestones. Like being a daughter who has been alive longer without a mother than with one.
I think of the past and the future.
I think of planning and intentionality.
I have friends who PLANNED out their lives: how many kids, how big a house by which year, etc., in the same amount of time Tom and I took to decide whether we should get a pillow top mattress (no). They had goals. They looked at the big picture, not just the day to day. And of course, as we all know, not all of those plans came to fruition, but many did.
But life happens whether we plan for it or not. Sometimes life happens despite our plans.
I tend to live in the land of inertia, feeling that life happens TO me. I've realized, at age 41, that this is not the way I want to live.
I think rather than a life of planning, however, I yearn for a life of intentionality. What would I like the future to look like? My friendships? My family relationships? My faith? My career? How can I make a difference in the world? How do I get there from here?
I would like to face these questions with honesty, and optimism. Not a to-do list per se but perhaps a "will be" list.
And, as I am not known for my follow-through OR my big picture thinking, let's revisit this issue together...say in about 12 years?