Friday, June 24, 2011

At Last, A New Chapter: Summer

Today ended my first year of teaching high school, my first year back to graduate school, one son's first year of middle school and the other son's first year of high school. I'm not much for marking milestones because I have found my life unfolds bit by bit. Except for our wedding and our sons' births, I haven't found too much in life that says "before" and "after." It's hard for me to tell what events in life have changed me in what ways.

And yet, despite my tendencies, today feels like a day when I am turning the page to a new chapter: my first summer after teaching.

I am nearly 50 and decided my midlife crisis would be launching myself far outside my comfort zone and into a whole new career. It's been intense, given my job is nearly a one-hour drive from our home, my students are reluctant readers and writers, and that my nights were filled with graduate-school work. Lying ahead of me are parts of my life I have neglected this school year.

I am looking forward to spending relaxed time with my husband and our boys. That means making waffles in the morning, walking the dog together at night, and attending our son's Little League games without worrying about what time I need to wake up and what school work I have left undone. 

The upstairs bedrooms need painting. My next-door neighbor has offered to teach me how to repair and cover cracks in the drywall. Outside, the yard is in serious need of care. I have lots of weeding and mulching to do, having never had time to plant my vegetable garden or the flowers. Thankfully, I have been planting perennials for years - so the butterfly weeds and the daisies, the peonies and the rose bushes have somehow survived my lack of attention.

Our puppy isn't a puppy any more and she needs training. She doesn't come when called, doesn't sit or heel and if the front door is open, races across the street to visit her main squeeze.

And finally, I need to take care of myself. I need to swim more laps and run more miles on the treadmill at the gym and in the park along the river near my home. I need to make sure our home is full of healthy food so we aren't ordering in or eating out so much. I am looking forward to  praying my Book of Hours more than I have been.

It sounds like a long list, but it feels manageable. I am grateful to have finished the first year of teaching, grateful for the supportive administrators and peers, grateful to my students for their patience with me and their humor and the way their challenges and triumphs taught me more than I probably taught them. And I feel very blessed to have time and space to renew myself before fall.


  1. Congratulations on making it through a big year of transition. I did that a few years back and it is something to note.

    How did you continue to blog through the year? I had to let a lot go this past year. Of course that was in the aftermath of last summer's illness for me and my sister-in-law's illness and death this winter.

    Anyway, I am still working but my grad school is out for the summer... and I am thrilled too!

  2. Thanks, Fran. Writing always has been a good release for me. I think my blogging buddies are one way I made it through!

  3. I wish you peace and calm and time with your family and your projects! I love your writing and relate to several parts of your life, both the busy times and the need to settle in. Have a great summer.

  4. Thank you so much, Julie. Right back at you.

  5. Congrats on a year well done! We've been out of school here for almost a month and will return on August 15. My to-do list sounds a lot like yours. Today, I caught up on yard work in the midst of a delicious cold front. I am thankful for the summer off, even though I'm still subbing.

    Enjoy your time of catching up and preparing for the new year.

  6. Thanks Sandy and it is so nice to hear from you....

  7. Ah, summer! Enjoy the fun times, be proud of the accomplishments, take some time to rest and rejuvenate and sleep in at least two mornings a week!

  8. The "Boys" were all awake and downstairs by 6 a.m. this morning. AAAA! I told them to please let me sleep in until 9 a.m. They did.