I give too much to my kids. The teacher who is always available, always encouraging, always ready to guide a puzzled or frustrated kid to a solution, always finding “that thing” in the room of chaos (that she patiently puts back together every day) has lost herself.
It really sneaked up on me, this idea that I’m lost. It began to dawn on me yesterday, when I was laughing with a friend who is just now facing an empty nest. Mine’s been semi-empty for two years, so I offered her some lighthearted comfort about still liking the guy she married (do you remember your husband? what’s it like to have just the two of you again? is it weird?) But it started me thinking about why I felt so disconnected yesterday.
I was so looking forward to Spring Break. I had great plans – Monday was SHOPPING, Tuesday was some volunteer work and finishing grading for the quarter, Wednesday was a facial, and Thursday & Friday were for spending with my husband. In between I wanted to get out and take photos, anywhere I could think of. Energized, I was! Then Monday came, and there was absolutely no wind in my sails. I forced myself into the car and pointed it to Easton, parked, looked halfheartedly around one of my favorite stores, and just gave up and left. Came home. Nothing accomplished. Today is looking pretty much the same. All of a sudden I can’t wait for the pressure of a too-full schedule and the constant demands of needy kids. WTH?!
So maybe the idea that the “good” teacher gives everything to her students has seduced me to the point that it’s a codependent relationship. As much as I know that I can’t be a good anything unless I take care of myself first, I seem to have lost touch with the ability to do that. I can’t even name my favorite anything anymore – except maybe color. Paying attention to the news, about which I have been passionate for years, has demoralized me now to the point of wanting to move to another country. Once again, I feel like a tiny rowboat lost & tossed on a sea of possibilities.
What will help in the long term? Who knows? I’d love to find another job, but at my age, in this economy, when I have no concrete marketable skills (like computer programming or accounting) and have been in education for eleven years? Fat chance. I could try to distance myself from the job I have right now, but I don’t think I’d be anywhere near as effective. Nor do I posses the skills to do it. I need wall-building lessons.
I guess the shot-term solution is to find something to do and DO IT. Just for today. Just for me.
I’ll let you know how that works out.