Let's rewind a bit.
Last November, I had another baby. #2. After having him, I started to think about how quickly time had passed with Cheeks (baby #1) and how I'd been feeling like a bad mom after coming home from a day of teaching. I'd give all my 2nd graders the best of me and my own children the scraps (read: exhaustipated--too tired to give a poop). I knew in my heart my own kids deserved better. I knew I would regret it if I didn't do something about it. So, I started
What I do know is this. Teaching is hard. Harder than anyone knows. And the funny thing about it all? It's not the actual "teaching" that is hard. It's the other stuff. Constant changes (which I know are necessary sometimes, but c'mon...I just organized that program into a binder system last year...), those parents, those coworkers, those admin. If you're a teacher, you know what I mean. We love seeing the kids "get it" and feeling like we had some sort of responsibility in that learning. That's the passion in it all. I also secretly (not anymore I guess) love that look I get from strangers when they ask what I do. No, not the one that thinks we're crazy and all they can think about is our summer's off (they're jealousy is completely obvious and if they only knew, if they only knew...). No, I mean the look that makes me feel like I'm a good person. The head-cock, "Oh I don't know how you do it! You are a saint!" look. You know that one. It's a silent society-pat-on-the-back to make up for all of the negative comments we get the other times from the nay-sayer teacher-haters. And if I took a leave of absence, would that make me a quitter? Would I be judged by my coworkers for leaving? Or worse, would they not take me back as "one of the gang" in a few years? When friends that aren't teachers talk about their jobs, I often fantasized about having a cubicle job that I could just leave at the end of the day. Or a shift job. Is that crazy? It sounds sad when I type it now. I think our spouses are about the only people that have a little bit of a clue. Even as a student teacher you think you know, but it's definitely not the same. Not even close, really.
So, instead of returning to the classroom for my 8th year of teaching last week, I went camping. Yep, camping. I rented a cabin at this beautiful spot here in Juneau called Eagle Beach. As soon as I turned in my leave of absence request in February, I knew I would need a distraction for the days that I would normally be prepping my classroom and the first day of school, so I booked a cabin (you have to reserve months in advance or the spots get taken). While we were out there last week, I realized a few things. I LOVE my children more than I can even stand. It's pretty gross. Like, I