Monday, August 7, 2017

turning a new page (with some tears & coffee)

Yesterday we made our way back from a fantastic family vacation in San Diego
to our home in the Bay Area.
Today I begin my new job as as a Lit and Creative Writing Teacher.
My first 40 hour a week job since Jack was born sixteen years ago.
(Don't try and do the math...I am still super young. I promise.)

Scott and I were riding in the front of the van and talking about Addie
who had developed a bad case of hives the last day of our vacation.
The Benadryl wasn't working and he would need to go in to the doctor.
Scott asked me to make the appointment for Monday.

And then the tears began streaming down my face.

Scott looked at me like "What in the World???!!!!"
(He should know by now there does not have to be any warning for tears.)
And Jack, who was listening in on the conversation said, "Mom, what's wrong?"
I couldn't talk. I told Scott to turn the music up.
Scott said, "Sue, you have to tell us what is going on."

Mid-blubber, I told him, "I am the one who takes Addie to appointments.
I am realizing I am not going to be able to do those things anymore."

Since Scott works from home and has a more flexible schedule,
he is going to be taking on some new roles
of caregiver and grocery shopper and taker to all appointments.
This new opportunity is changing things up for all of us.
He is being a rock star taking it all on. Me? Not so much.

I wiped my face and said, "This wasn't the plan."
My plan: Work from home until the last kid flew off to college....
attend as many field trips as the picker upper from school...
be the nurse on sick days...mostly, be all the things my mom was to me.

My plan was staying at home.

Jack leaned up and said, "Well, Mom, this is God's plan and you are going to do great."

That unleashed a new flood of tears.

"I am just used to being the one who helps you boys with everything.
I have loved that part of being a mom."

Jack said, "Mom, you are going to help our family in a different way now."

More tears because:
1. When did this kid become so calm and wise? He was wiping me out!
2. I am closing the door on this stay at home mom season and stepping into a new one.

I should have known I would have a break down or seven before rejoining the workforce.
It is how I respond. (Pray heavy for Scott!)

For me, there are moments of grief that accompany the joys and excitement of change.
I have loved being able to be at home with my boys.
I wouldn't change it for a minute.
And, despite the sweatiness, I know I am going to love being a teacher.
I can feel it already.

So today feels like that moment when Scott and I dropped Addie off at kindergarten.
Our last child officially in school.
Scott had to pry me from the kindergarten room window where I was lingering like a stalker.
I bawled all the way to the car.
And then the reality hit that I had a whole day in front of me to do whatever I wanted to do.
SoI wiped my tears with a grin and said, "Let's go get coffee."
It was a whole new world opening up in front of me.
It needed to celebrated.

So this morning, I am drinking a cup of coffee before I go off to my first day of school.
God keeps surprising us with His plans, doesn't He?
I don't want to miss out.

There are very few moments where you can actually look back and say,
"This is a moment where I turned a new page in my life. New story. New scene. New players."
This is one of those for me.
So I am raising my coffee cup to you this morning.
Celebrate with me. (Or cry with me...I'm good with either one.)
Here is to a new season. To changing it up. To making a lunch...for me this time around.


Monday, July 17, 2017

please take your seats and call me mrs. aughtmon

It is less than four weeks until I am officially a middle school teacher.
I am laughing out loud as I type this.
Not because it's funny.
It's more like that high hysterical hyena laughter of nervousness.

I haven't faced a life change this big since...
I can't remember...because my memory is shot after having three children.
So it is probably since having the three children.

I have been scribbling ideas for books and projects.
Reading young adult lit. Pouring over lesson plans.
Meeting with teacher friends. Begging for their help and insight.
Sending strongly worded texts to my girlfriends: PRAY HEAVY.
Reading teaching books...Ron Clark's Essential 55. This I love.
The First Days of School: How to be an Effective Teacher by Harry Wong.
This makes me feel a little sick to my stomach. (

This afternoon I am meeting again with my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Cox.
She tells me to call her Marney. But in my heart, she will always be Mrs. Cox.
Best. Teacher. Ever.
She is setting my feet firmly on the path of teacher wisdom

Be firm.
Set boundaries.
Have routines.
Share procedures.
Be prepared.
But be ready to improvise. Because teaching is fluid.

Last meeting I told her, "I have a lot to learn."
She said, "Keeping thinking that. The teacher who thinks they know it all is finished."
I am far from finished. I am just beginning.

And on a practical note, I am realizing that I need to buy more pants.
Because I live in jeans. Literally.
I have worn some type of jean almost every day for the past 16 years.
Even to church. Even to my speaking engagements. Nice jeans...but jeans.
What do people EVEN WEAR when jeans are not an option?
This one has me scrambling.

And I have started setting my alarm for 5:30 am. Because it's coming.
The early mornings. The rush of coffee and adrenaline. This is my future.
Early mornings. Days full of kids I don't know. Grading papers.
New colleagues. New environment. New new. So uncharted. So unknown.
Hence, the hyena like laughter. And the nervous stomach.

But it's okay. My friend, Gayle, who taught a new grade this year said,
"Just stay close to the bathroom the first few weeks. All of us teachers feel the same way."
Those are words of wisdom that I will be heeding.

What I am discovering in this new that even though I may be called "teacher"?
I am the student.
I am the one who will be sitting, feet under desk, taking it all in that first day of school.
I will be learning each child.
I will be asking the other teachers for their input.
I will be studying and planning and implementing and then rearranging everything.
And I will be asking Jesus for moment by moment wisdom and grace and the calming of nerves.
So. Much. To. Learn.

But the funny thing is...laughing and nervousness aside?
I can't wait to get started.

Friday, June 30, 2017

i'm going back to junior high

Junior High.
A time of sweaty arm pits and deep fear.
I never thought I would revisit it.
I was glad to see it go.

And yet in approximately 6 weeks, I will be entering those hormone laden halls once again.
This time as a teacher.
An 8th grade lit & creative writing teacher.
Can you believe it?
I know. Me, either.

I am super excited! (Writing! Yay!)
And already sweaty. (There you are, deep fear. How have you been doing all these years?)
This fight or flight response is what my body does any time I do anything out of my comfort zone.
Pitching new book ideas? Speaking in public? Hanging out with new people I don't know? 
Sweat galore.

I will be doing all three of these things in my classes.
Pitching new ideas. Speaking in public. Hanging out with new people I don't know.

I will be keeping Dove Ultimate Go Pomegranate and Lemon Verbena Scent Deodorant in business.
I will be buying a case or 7 in anticipation of Back to School Night.

Jesus has a way of bringing our dreams full circle in very unpredictable ways. 
I discovered my love of writing in junior high.
I wrote a lot of stories about girls who got to wear purple eye shadow and teal colored mascara.
Mostly because it was the 80's...
and I was forbidden to wear  eye shadow and mascara until high school.
I poured all of my angst and awkwardness into those stories and shared them with my friends.
Writing became my creative outlet. The one place as a young person that I felt safe.

And here I am, decades later, getting the opportunity to help young people discover
the love of writing.
Unleashing dreams and potential. Offering a space of creativity. (Along with a side of homework.)
And I am pretty sure that purple eye shadow and teal mascara are a thing again.
What are the odds?

I am planning a million fun things that I want to do with these kids.
So many good books to many journal entries to little time.
My creative juices are already flowing.

But back to my sweating issues.

When I started looking for a job this past year, I wasn't even thinking of teaching.
I was looking into admin work and writing content for large companies.
Jesus had other ideas.

He likes putting us in places where we have to lean in to Him.
Where we know we can't do it on our own.
Where we recognize that He is in charge and that He is THE ONLY ONE who can get us through.
(Class room management, anyone?)

Jesus tends to fling open doors of opportunity that make us more than a little sweaty.
Opportunities where fear grips the backs of  our throats and sets our hearts pounding in our chests.
Then He grins at us and says,
"Do you trust me? Because together we can do this."

So this is my new adventure.
As my mother-in-law would say, "Please pray heavy."
Just typing this, I am already sweating.

But I am planning on wearing teal mascara on the first day of school.
I think that will help.
Junior High? Here I come.