Today is the first Friday of this school year. It's the day teachers release a collective sigh and head home in a near delirium state of exhaustion. We've made it through the first week. The routines will settle in on Monday and we've only got 35 more weeks to go.
For me, the first Friday of last year was my last day of "normal".
I remember the sound of the dismal bell for last period and calling to my students to, "have a great weekend!"
I remember leaving piles of paper on my desk but still shoving some in my bag to take home.
I remember still feeling slightly sticky from the weak AC in my room and the first pep rally of football season as I locked the classroom door behind me and exited the building.
Having no idea I'd never walk back in that room as a teacher again.
I don't remember if I cooked dinner that night or if my husband and I left the kids with my mom and ate out.
I can barely remember driving to Oklahoma the next day for a birthday party and driving home Sunday afternoon.
What I do remember about Sunday is before I sat down to go through those papers or gather my lesson plans for the week, before I cooked dinner for my kids or really even had a conversation with my husband, I went into my mom's room.
I guess not everyone can pinpoint the minute their life changed. For most people, it's probably a gradual shift that sneaks up on you like those extra pounds on your hips or needing reading glasses after 40. I know the exact moment my life changed.
August 30, 2015 4:30pm.
Mom and I were sitting on her bed, talking about the birthday party. That's when her head dropped to her chest as if she'd fallen asleep. That's the moment that triggered 36 hours of her being incoherent, a 13 day hospital stay, a devastating diagnosis delivered by a teary-eyed surgeon, folding his mask over and over in his hand and a decision.
I would leave teaching for 12 weeks.
But 12 weeks wasn't enough. So, I resigned. I packed up the personal things from my classroom, leaving any materials I thought my replacement could use until I could collect them at the end of the year.
I became a full-time caregiver until March 10th when I became Executrix of the estate.
I didn't return to teaching this year. I wasn't ready. I have too much reassembling of my life that needs to happen first.
I thought it would hit me on the first day when my daughters headed out to their new classes and my husband left for work. I thought that's when I'd miss it. I didn't.
Not until today.
I don't miss teaching, yet. I've missed my students and my co-workers but not teaching itself. I'm sure that will come.
What I miss today is the me who walked out of those high school doors on the first Friday last year.
The one who didn't know what was coming. Didn't know to be worried and didn't know everything in her world was about to change.