Sunday, September 01, 2013

Or Maybe He Just Wears Earplugs and Nods A Lot

It's a well-kept secret amongst teachers.  Don't let it get out that I am the one who told, but we get scared.  Or at least I do, and I'd like to believe I am not alone in this.  Every year, before school starts, we get scared.  Scared that the year will go terribly wrong.  Scared that the kids will hate us.  Scared that years from now, they'll be reminiscing and they'll say something like, "oh, I remember my second grade teacher.  She was just cold." (Like I would say if you asked me about mine.) Worse yet, we are scared that we won't like our kids.  

We end the year with heartbreak, or again, at least I do every year.  I cry.  I downright sob with heartbreak over saying goodbye to my kids.  I pour everything I have into them for 180 school days and then off they go!  But at the beginning of the year, I fear that I won't like them at all.  They will be difficult.  They will be ornery.  They will lie and be lazy and they won't get my jokes.  And they will be all those things (and more) and I will still fall in love with them.  But right now, I worry.

Worse yet, my best friend is away.  The Mister is still in PA.  Still eating cheesesteaks.  Still driving around town telling me how everything has changed.  He's not here.  And he won't be here for the first four days of school.  (I am convinced the first day is scheduled to be a half day on request of all the teachers' spouses, who have to listen for hours that night about each and every child.)  And mine will, too, but not here.  Not laying next to me in bed where the best conversations happen.  

I know he hates being gone and for his sake, I swear I am not trying to make him feel worse for being gone (he might be secretly glad to miss First Day Drama). I just mean to say how much I treasure having him to talk to.  Having him to share all the details with.  I know what it's like not to have someone to tell it all too, and I so love having him in my life, not just as Chief Listener, but because he gets it.  

Because he is here every day, because he hears it all, because he is my go-to confidante, he gets why I stress, he gets why I get mad, he gets why I sometimes cry when talking about a student.  He gets it.  Before too many days have gone by, he know all my kids as well as I do.  He knows why a particular lie from a particular student was worse than others.  He knows why a meeting has me on edge.  He knows why I am worried about Tuesday and why it matters that Devin's mom called today.  He also knows why I will pause at the store when I see fruit snacks on sale, why I have to make another trip to Hobby Lobby and why the boxes from Amazon haven't stopped coming.  He knows when to be sympathetic and when to gently point out that I need to make a different choice.  He knows when to nudge and when to just stay silent.  He knows when my silence means thereis nothing to say about my day and when it means there's too much to even begin.  Most of all, he knows when my heart is breaking and I need reassurance, and when I just need a good laugh.

He is just a phone call away, which is a far better deal than when I had no Mister to talk with at all, but talking on the phone isn't the same.  He will always know me better, advise me better and love me better because he is present for these moments.  He is here to love me through them all.  Maybe that's why God put him in such a routine, quiet career.  If we both had days full of the kind of drama that 27 eight year olds can create, there'd be too much to talk about.  

I know, come Tueday, the first day of school, that I could stop by Julie's on my way home to talk, and I know she'd be happy to listen.  But it isn't the same.  I am sure I will chat with my teacher friends before we leave school for the day, but it still isn't the same.  I will call The Mister and he will listen to every word, he will ask questions and he will feel all the things I feel.  But it won't be the same.

Not until Saturday, when he flies back home.  Not until we sit side by side and I just spew it all.  Not until he sees my face and witnesses the emotion and spends the days hearing all the stories, only then will it be all right.  

For everything is all right when my best friend is home.  

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