Tulips

Ed started apologizing for the tulips he was carrying before he even sat down next to me. “Emmy picked them out, and as we were walking out of the store I remembered you’re allergic to them,” he said.

“Honestly,” I replied, “I really didn’t remember that. I think I’ll be fine.” We settled down together to watch Lily’s ballet recital that afternoon, and she would be the recipient of the tulips after the show.

Tulips (2)

Many years ago, I was a young student teacher in a middle school resource room. My cooperating teacher was amazing, and I loved teaching those kids. Dennis was a boy I particularly remember. He was in sixth grade, and yet he was fourteen since he had been held back a couple of times. He was shy and quiet, and acted younger than his fourteen years. Every morning, it became his habit to bring me a tulip. The bottom of the stem would be rough and ragged where he had torn it off. Hoping that Dennis had not stolen the tulip from the neighbors, I always placed it in a cup of water and kept it in the middle of the table where I spent most of my day working with small groups. I began to notice a pattern; I would feel fine in the evenings and early morning, but as soon as I started teaching my nose would run like crazy. It didn’t take long to make the connection between the tulip and the sneezing.

I kept that connection to myself, and Dennis continued to bring me a tulip each morning. On the last day of student teaching, I held back the tears until I made it to the car. I learned so much about teaching that semester, and would miss the teacher and students I worked with. After graduation, I found a job and worked with many, many students in the years to come. Remembering all the students I taught makes me smile–and I have a special fondness for the boy who brought me tulips.

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First Day of School, But Not For Me

So far, I’ve been full of anticipation. Full of ideas and excited to get some project accomplished. However, this morning I woke up early, anxious and unable to fall back to sleep.

Today is the day. My baby starts Kindergarten full time today.

First Day of Kindergarten

On Monday, I went to school with her and sat in a 45 minute orientation with her by my side.

On Tuesday, I dropped her off at 8:45 and picked her up at lunchtime. She was in school just a little longer than she would have been at preschool.

Today, I will take her to school at 8:45. In one hand, she will be holding her big sister’s hand. In her other hand, she will be holding her lunchbox. I will pick them both up at 3:30 after a long, long day at home. Alone.

Oh, I know I was all full of bravado in my last post, talking about how I’m going to stay busy and how I’m ready for the girls to go back to school.

Today, I feel left behind. The beginning of the school year always makes me feel this way. I see a classroom, ready for students, and I remember my former life. My life when the beginning of the school year was my favorite time of the year. The new books and pencils, the white sheets of paper and smell of new crayons, the new faces crowding the classroom, nervous and excited all at the same time. Emmy’s teacher has a new smart board, and I am so jealous. Teachers in elementary schools didn’t have smart boards when I left teaching.

I know I made that choice all those years ago (not that long ago, really) to stay at home with my baby and give up my dream job. The job I had gone to school for; the job that I worked at for thirteen years; the job I felt was an occupation, not just a job. The job that gave me the title of teacher.

I’ve been out of teaching for so many years that new friends and neighbors don’t think of me as a teacher. I’m Lily and Emmy’s mom, which I am very proud to be. And I’m really being unfair to the preschool where I teach. I’m a teacher to them, for about 5 hours a week. Although this gig is mostly unpaid, I suppose I can also call myself a blogger and a writer.

The sun has been slowly lightening the sky as my fingers have been typing, getting out all my mixed-up feelings. It’s one of the reasons I love blogging; it helps me to untangle my thoughts. In just a few minutes, I need to start making breakfast and lunches; getting out clean clothes and making sure hair is brushed and beds are made.

Then I’ll kiss my two girls goodbye, and get started on all those projects. I’ll let you know how it goes.

First Day of School

How are you feeling today?

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