Tick, Tick, Tick

It just isn’t right. It’s been almost two months since I last wrote. It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about you. I have. But, I have to be blunt and honest, you haven’t been my priority.

Here’s what I have done instead:

  1. Been an in-person (and remote) 8th grade English Language Arts teacher to about 150 newly minted teens. Anyone who has likewise served as an educator this year knows what a tough gig it’s been. Our necks and shoulders–let’s throw in our vision as well–has calcified into a rusty backyard gate hinge. Our butts have flattened into soggy crepes. Our braincells are like Memorial Day charcoal ash with an occasional lighthouse flash of ember: Some of our students actually learned!
  2. Been a full-time grandma to my 14-month-old granddaughter who is residing with us, along with her Mama, while her Papa studies for a gigantic med. school exam. Seven days a week, I wake up to her sweet whimper, and cuddles and diapering morning rituals, get her ready for our new babysitter, Esther, while her Mama teaches upstairs and I head to work. I get home, get more hugs and oodles of baby afternoon duties, then try to dive into a bit of grading and class planning, then hit the sack by 9 p.m.
  3. Been suffering from insomnia. For a bunch reasons.
  4. Been a motivational, kick in the fanny, coach/mentor to my ex-husband who is ailing from a series of complications, most profoundly, severe depression.
  5. Been housekeeper and dog-watcher to our two lively pups, Monet and Finn.
  6. Been gardener and trash day hauler, and all-other household duties.
  7. Been overseer/contractor/financier of my new rental unit, Moonstone Cottage By the Sea, which will hopefully provide some extra retirement income.
  8. Been a regular imbiber in Boisset Wines, a collection of amazing biodynamic California and French wines. http://www.boissetcollection.com
  9. Been preparing for retirement, which is now eight days away, not including Memorial Day. Medicare. Final doctor appointments. Cleaning out the classroom. Pension fund decisions. You know, the paperwork–what if I make a wrong decision???--of life.

Which means what I haven’t been is present with myself. I have been, to put it mildly, distracted by life and responsibilities. But I am now starting to sense that just beyond the horizon of the day-to-day, is a new beginning. That’s what I’m looking forward to. A fresh new start. A chapter in my life that I can decide, “What do I want to do?”

I am definitely not retiring rich or financially prepared. I am not the 50 pounds lighter I wanted to be. I am not very wise. I am still rather undone and uncertain about a lot of things. But what I feel is instinct. I feel God’s presence and abiding love and belief in me. I feel like a Redondo Union High School grad with a cap and gown. I know on my last day I will throw that mortarboard into the sky and it will feel like turquoise and yellow confetti: I made it. The sky’s the limit. It’ll be a new, brand new, open canvas.

I will have a chance to write more, walk more, create more, go camping for as long as I want in the Fall. Take solo trips. Hang out with my retired friends, the ol’ pros at negotiating this chapter of life.

It’s been a hellofa final year teaching. We’re all pretty PTSD’d . But we are almost at the Finish Line. There’ll be a staff party in eight days, and some melancholy goodbyes. I worked SO HARD to be a good teacher. And just like that, it will be over. No more lesson planning. No more grading. No more angry parents. No more end-of-the-day visits from former students. No more knowing, “Did I do OK? Did I make a difference? Did I help?”

I have much to write about, think about. I hope you’ll hang in there with me as I am about to become more prolific. But for now, there’s a baby stirring and a Mama who is pooling it up with her sister and nephew. Duty calls.

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