Little Deaths

Our lives are about to change. In a short few weeks I’ll be leaving my job after 7 years and I will be starting down a different path.

In less than a month I’ll leave here and begin substitute teaching.

Yes, I’m returning to teaching after years of wondering if that would ever happen.

And I’m terrified.

First, I must say my husband has been super patient and very supportive of my decision. Hell, he encouraged me to at least fill out the paperwork and just turn it in. He saw it as an opportunity to work through that first step, just applying. When I got past that step and onto the next, the interviewing, he again reminded me that what was most important was just going through the steps and completing each one. And I did.

Then that step turned into a job offer and the opportunity to start substitute teaching this coming school year.

Sadly, I didn’t react like I think people wanted me to. I don’t think my brain has clicked over yet to how thing may be this coming year. Instead, I’m stuck on the fear of leaving what I know, the comfort of my everyday being the same. So instead of rejoicing I’m scared.

I drove back to work from my interview and realized I wouldn’t have to commute as far for much longer and instead of sighing in relief, I felt a pang of sadness. When I walked in the door and heard my dad and saw my sister in her office, a little hole opened up and my sadness deepened.

Since Monday when I received the good word of my hiring on, I dealt with little deaths along the way. Today I was asked to write my job description, explaining all the tasks I am responsible for at my desk. It wasn’t an odd thing to ask and made total sense but it felt like I was writing my own obituary.

I’ve never been in a situation like this before so I’m treading into completely new territory. First, I’ve never had a job for this long. 7 years… that’s a good long time in one place. Also, the last 9 years I’ve been the financially responsible adult for my son. I left teaching when an opportunity opened up in a better position so that he could have insurance and a steady income to not only cover our basics but also to stock away some savings while we were at it. and now I’m leaving that cushy job for another one that’s not as lucrative but it’s a passion I want to follow. It’s hard, I feel selfish and risky, feelings I don’t cope well with.

But I’m doing it, step by step. And I’m grieving as I go, letting those little deaths come and go as they please. I’ve got a few weeks until I’m officially done and moving on and by then I bet I’ll be thrilled and looking forward to my first day as a teacher again. For now, I grieve and fret over the what-ifs and the unknown.

For now…

Advertisements

A Letter To My Child: Someday, With Love

Peanut,

You are not real. You are not even a physical being, just a thought, and yet here I sit writing you this letter.

The other day Jake, who will be your big brother someday, was asking about you. He wanted to know when you are coming and when will he get to be a big brother.

Sadly, I couldn’t answer with anything definite. I could only give him the understanding that someday, it will happen. That someday you will come into our lives and then he will be a big brother.

I explained to him that before he was born, I loved him. I didn’t know him or if he would be a boy or a girl but that it didn’t matter. I would love him no matter what. And that I looked forward to the day that he would be in my life.

Your big brother Jake then told me that until you were born, until you make your appearance in the world and bless our lives with your presence, he would love you in his heart.

He made me realize that he is already a great big brother.

2012-06-11081607

You may not be in our lives yet but we talk about you constantly. We wonder if you will be a girl or a boy. If you will have your dad’s nose or my mouth. If you will be a happy baby like your big brother or if you will be a quiet observer, taking it all in.

This made me realize we are ready for you. We are ready to be your mom and your dad. To be the team you need to grow up strong, confident and happy. We are ready for the sleepless nights and the nursing and dirty diapers at 3am.

Our love for you grows each day and we can’t wait to learn that you will be joining us soon. It’s with all of our hearts together that we wait and hope to share the news of your coming with the family. Not yet, but someday.

Until then, we wait. We share and talk and wonder.

And as for me, I am ready. I’m ready to hold you, kiss you and tell you stories like this one. Stories of the life we led before you and the dreams we all held in our hands until they held you. I can’t wait to hear you cry and watch you learn to smile. I can’t wait to listen for your first words and when you call your big brother for the first time.

It’s hard to explain, the love you have for those who don’t exist yet. But it’s there, deep and very real.

So we wait for you, to welcome you and love you in the flesh as we do now in our dreams.

Someday.

With love…

Mama

Wandering

Trucks rumble by on the road just beyond my window. The sun lights up the room as the cool air from the vents above filter into the office where I sit and stare.

It’s been slow lately and that lack of daily activity for a good stretch of time leaves my mind free to wander. Sometimes I day dream to a time and place in the future with what I hope will be. Other times I create scenarios in my mind, almost like a test to see how I’d manage such a situation.

Then there are those times when I travel back and open the door to those memories closed away in a dim, stuffy corner of my mind. I trip and stumble through boxes of pictures and notes, smiling faces of people I no longer speak to peaking through the dust and clutter.

It’s easy to sit down and begin to rifle through these memories. To read the notes and hear the voices of past acquaintances, the laughter we once shared ringing joyful.

Suddenly the mind whirls into action and shuffles off all of the negative memories, allowing only the good and happy times to float forward. Your mind clouds over, seeing only the reasons the friendships had started, forgetting at once why they needed to end.

Like a rinse cycle spinning away the dirt and dust from the passage of time, all that is left are the purest remembrances. The stories, the smiles, the laughs and the bonds made over common dreams and wishes. As the pictures flip past your eyes, the moments that were cherished so much flickering faster and faster, the confusion sets in.

Why did it have to end? Do they ever think back and remember me? Why did it have to hurt so much?

Then the pictures slowly slip from my hands and fall to the floor, covering the ground around me in mental images from a life I no longer live but a past I can never out run.

It will always be with me, in my shadows, wandering beside me.

The Contrarian

It’s not easy having an opinion that differs from the vast majority.

It’s even worse when that vast majority is your family and the soon-to-be in-law family.

I’ve lived my young life being myself and that meant a lot of disagreeing. When it was suggested my son had oppositional defiance disorder, I laughed. It made sense because that seemed to be a theme of mine growing up. I argued almost anything and most of the time it was never intentional.

Arguing to me was like breathing: involuntary and necessary.

As I grew into my adult skin, I’ve learned to curb my natural tenancies to disagree. I’ve learned to silence my natural inclination to debate everything. I can now listen to what others have to say without thinking of ways to debate it.

What can I say? I’ve matured.

But the inclination is still there. It’s deep within my spirit to disagree and I find myself doing so when I feel trapped. Backed into a corner over a situation I can’t find comfort in, I lash out and make room to escape with my sharp tongue and my opposing opinion.

Recently, I’ve been more argumentative than usual and it’s because I’ve found myself on the path to joining my life with another in the foreseeable future. This idea in and of itself is wonderful and I can’t wait for the planning and discussions to be done and for it to be official. But the idea of hosting/paying for a larger than life event for a single day to celebrate has been a major cause of stress and anxiety.

If I struggled in my younger years with defiance and opposition, then I’m wallowing in it now. But there is a catch…I’m not purposely doing it to defy any one person, I’m honestly against something I feel is not in my best interest.

And yet, when the option of not having some garish, over-priced party that I’m truly against is mentioned, I’m admonished for considering it. That in some way, my wish to save money and put it towards my future life and family instead of a few hours of dancing and drinks is an awful idea and I’m an awful person for considering.

Bad reluctant bride-to-be, bad!

And then I’m left stuck in a corner, the weight and pressure of family and friends opinions pressing against me and I find myself speaking out of turn and with a note of defiance. Everything I’ve done to confine this part of me is slow working its way out. I don’t think people are ready for this side of me.

The contrarian is slowly surfacing and I have a feeling it’ll get worse before it gets better.

Let’s just hope I don’t cut of my nose to spite my face. Or that I don’t alienate myself from my future family. Or even my own family…

Sigh…

Jinxed

In the early dawn light, just before the sky began to fade from inky blackness into the azure hue of morning, she felt his arm snake around her waist and pull her into his warmth. She sighed her happiness into the silent still air around their bed as he bent into her shape and together they dozed.

With a kitten’s purr, she shifted her shoulders to fit against his chest and let their contentment settle around them.

The alarm wasn’t due to ring for another 30 minutes but she knew she wouldn’t be able to fall back to sleep now. With his breath against her skin and their legs tangled together, she felt herself slowly drift awake as the world outside slowly shifted from its own drowsy state of motionlessness.

She loved this time of the morning. When the breezes in the trees outside rustled the leaves with a gentle hand and the deep breaths of the sleepers ever-so slightly disturbed the silence. When everyone else remained asleep but, with her eyes closed, she was awake and thoughtful.

Drawing the cool sheet up against her chin, she lay there still, listening to his breath draw in and out, wondering if he was dreaming and what of. If he saw worlds of color and odd dancing figures or if his dreams were more realistic.

She felt him move slightly and smiled as he bent to kiss the back of her neck.

“Morning,” he said in his sleepy voice.

His deep, vocal bass rolled against her shoulders and her skin prickled excitedly. Hearing him first thing in the morning was one of the things she adored most, both for being the first to be greeted by him but also for the sleepy, thick pitch when he was just rousing from sleep. She smiled and greeted him in return.

“Can’t sleep?” he asked.

“Not really, just resting I guess.”

“Anything on your mind in particular? Or are you just being selfish and hogging the blankets all to yourself again?”

Snorting quietly, she adjusted the excess of fabric she never realized had gathered on her side. With the blankets rearranged and their bodies resting in the warmth of the cocoon they built, they both settled for a bit, trying to lengthen the early morning in the hopes of pushing away the day ahead.

But he was right, there was something on her mind. A question he had asked recently, one that would change their futures. She hadn’t answered but he hadn’t pried. He was giving her space and time.

She didn’t need it. She already had an answer. And a suggestion.

“Hun,” she started in a whisper. “About the other night…”

“Yeah?”

“Well, you know my answer is yes.”

Without a glance, she felt his smile beam across his face, like a child on Christmas morning. His arms squeezed against her in a tight embrace and he kissed her shoulder. Biting her lip, she continued.

“But I was thinking, what if we used my mother’s ring? You know, the one she passed on to me.”

Before she could continue the shifting of the pillow case beneath his head rustled as he shook his head in response.

“Nope. We’ll go out and pick out a ring. A fresh start, something new.”

She bit her lip. It would be nice to have her own but she was practical, logical. There was a perfectly fine ring not being worn just waiting for someone to use it. It seemed wasteful.

His body was still and she knew he was gauging her hesitation. He cleared his throat.

“I just think you could use a ring that’s uniquely yours to start this off right. Doesn’t need to be fancy but something that’s your and only yours. Besides, we don’t want to jinx us before we actually say ‘I Do’.”

Chuckling she responded, “I never knew you to be the superstitious type. What’s with this ‘jinx’ business?”

Glancing over her shoulder, she could see just edge of his face, enough to notice the smile had faded. Furrowing her brows together she turned to him.

“Well, it’s just that…” he began with hesitation. “I think it’s a good idea we start fresh and not with something from a past that isn’t what we want for our future.”

A deep breath collected in her chest. She knew what he meant. Pain circled through her heart as her pulse quickened and tears sprang to her eyes.

She knew exactly what he was alluding to.

Not long after they started dating, a deep rift tore open within her family and the ring she now had in her possession had not been worn for some time. It was simple and gold with bands twining around each other, housing a diamond at it’s core. It had become a symbol of so many feelings, both good and bad. Her childhood had been beautiful and filled with great memories. But the dissolving of her parents’ marriage had cast a shadow over the lovely diamonds and the tightly wound circle, symbolizing eternity together, a bond never broken.

The little girl in her still held onto the ring, wishing to wear it as her mother had in the heyday of their marriage when together they were a family, whole and solid. But the woman now laying here, agreeing to her own future with a man she loved dearly, saw the ring as a broken promise.

He was right, the ring would jinx it. Why carry on a past into their future that neither of them wished for?

Rolling into his arms to face him completely, she saw the grief lined in his face. But it didn’t reach his eyes. There she saw the love he gave her unconditionally. The light of future plans they had together, or dreams and wishes she wanted to make come true with him. Together they had weathered the storm and found they were stronger together than apart. While she watched and suffered along with her parents, he stood by her side, held her hand and let her cry in peace.

Smiling through her tears, she nodded and he nodded back. His smile was gentle and comforting as he reached down to wipe away her sorrows. She took a deep, cleansing breath.

“No more talk about that ring, ok?” he said reassuringly. “We’ll figure it out.”

And together they settled into the quiet morning, their arms encircling each other tightly.

We Are The Jetsons

I sat with my finger nails pressed firmly between my teeth as I read through the current chapter of the book in hand. It was intense and I couldn’t figure out what the author was going to do next, both a wonderful yet annoying feature of this particular writer. While I loved the joy of being surprised, I squirmed in anticipation to know what would happen next.

I silently bit down on my nails and thumbed to the next page with my free hand, my eyes scanning to the top and finding my place with ease. Reading was a pastime I enjoyed thoroughly and books to me were collectors pieces. My bookshelves were packed with the books I’d read, standing like figurines in a shrine to all things literary. A shrine I revised often, adding new pieces and reverently returning to those I’ve finished only to read again.

I kept on, my right leg dangling from the couch with my left foot tucked underneath my thigh. And there, on top of his thigh rested my left knee, the single point of contact between us as we read next to each other.

Plock-plock went his stylus as he flipped through articles on his ereader. He was quiet, his head down and his eye flickering across the illuminated screen in his hands, picking up information about new gadgets or reading his own books there in the black type of the computer aged book.

Without warning, a small snort issued from my nose. It surprised me as much as it did him, causing him to look up at me with a question. I smiled and giggled.

“What?” he asked.

Shaking my head, I chuckled slightly and leaned my head back against the couch.

“Nothing, I just had a funny thought,” I responded.

Shifting beneath my knee, he kicked his legs up onto the couch and turned to face me, curiosity winning him over. His dark eyes rested on my face as he brought his head to rest upon his fist.

“No seriously, what’s so funny? And you can’t say nothing.”

I smiled back, biting my bottom lip, knowing that what I thought was silly and slightly stupid. Sharing with it him will only be a disappointment when he realizes it was nothing but a passing thought.

Looking down at my book, I placed my finger between the pages. Closing it gently I smiled to myself. Who could resist that look on his face?

“I was just thinking that we are really in the future now.”

A wave of confusion washed over his handsome features and he crinkled his brow at me.

“What do you mean?”

I laughed again.

“Well,” I started. “Here you are with a ereader in your hands and you flick through the pages like it’s a book.”

“And…?” he asked, trying to see my point before I made it.

“Well, we are the future. I mean, hell, you are reading articles and books via a screen with a pen that turns the pages. We’re practically the fucking Jetsons. All we need now is teleportation and a flying car.”

Me smiled at me the way my parents did when I told them a monster was under the bed and I loved him for it. I loved him for his ability to accept me, my weirdness and my weirdness’ weirdness.

He patted my leg and turned back to his reading, shaking his head and sighing.

Opening my book again, I turned to the sentence I’d left off on and started to read again, smiling at the thought of us reading next to each other on that couch, knees touching, for years to come.

The Future

How is it that one thing can be both scary and exciting at the same time?

Both unnerving and securing?

Something that I’d could run from or that I could run to.

Either way, the future is the unknown. That feeling of “what if” and “when” that comes together in a single package wrapped with a big bow of “how”.

Many will say that you need to focus on the present because it’s all we really have. The past is but a memory and the future is only a dream. The present is in our hands, in the moment. It is now.

But…I can’t help sneaking a peek at the future. Wondering where I’ll go, what will happen and how I’m going to get there. So far, my present is nothing like I thought it would be when I was 6 years old, when I was 14 years old, or even when I was 21 years old. All these changes and unforeseen curves in the road have now made me both cautious and anxious about my future.

And this leads me to ask, have I been fooling myself? By having an idea of what I want and that idea having never come together as I’d hoped, am I making it harder on myself to accept my true path and my more likely future?

As the old saying goes, “When Man plans, The Universe laughs.”

Maybe it’s time to stop making plans and to just live.