I am in my second year of staying home, and this year I’m really missing school. Last year, I was enormously pregnant and very thankful that I did not have to squeeze into student desks for staff development. I also had the anticipation of a tiny little one arriving soon. Not this year.
I still love that I am able to care for our dear boy here at home, but I miss the energy of the students, the camaraderie of the staff, and the smell of the freshly sharpened pencils. I miss lesson plans, school supplies, and busyness.
As soon as back-to-school displays appeared in stores, my shopping trips doubled in duration. I wandered through the aisles, longing to fill my cart with notebooks, rulers, colored pencils, and glue.
I also began to question our choice.
Am I doing the right thing by staying home?
Is it selfish for me to stay home while Robert works all day?
What could we do financially if I went back to teaching that we can’t do right now?
What about retirement?
On Wednesday, I was feeling really down about missing out on the excitement of starting a new year with new students. That very night, two things happened that assured me that I am right where I need to be. First, Robert and I talked about why I stay home, and he reminded me that our child is more important than any amount of money. He also reminded me about how much time I spent grading papers during my three years of teaching. Second, our dear boy said his first word, and it was MAMA! Those little arms reaching out as that little mouth says my name is all the affirmation that I need.
Of course, I still feel a little down when I see pictures of brightly decorated classrooms or students dressed their best for that all-important first day. I want to see the thrill of learning on young faces and to swell with pride because I had something to do with that learning. I want to hear about their hopes and their disappointments. I look forward to returning to all of that someday, but not today.
I have a little boy who calls me mama. That’s enough for me today.