I received my last paycheck sometime in April 2007. I received my first child (thanks for catching her, Dr Nguyen) a few weeks later. Rather than researching tribes in Iran and the culture of Taiwan or writing up the history of the Air Force Reserve and meeting with clients as a defense analyst, I was breastfeeding and cooking, burping and cleaning, attending Music Together classes and baby & me swing classes. Add two healthy, energetic boys whose aptitude for filth upped my laundry quite a bit. Their inclination for sports had the odometer in my Suburban moving at an exponential pace.
It’s been a busy 12 and a half years.
Lately, I’ve noticed that my children don’t need me in the same ways as they used to. Rather than requiring my steady gaze and firm boundaries, they need rides and money. They will always need me–I know that, most minutes of the day–and I hope I will always be there for them. But they need to continue to grow their independence.
At the same time, I realize that I need to regain some independence. I need to nurture myself in deeper ways than lunching with friends, going for runs, walking my dogs, and being the CEO of a busy house. I have a BA and MA dusty from underuse, and energy and chutzpah to put to use.
Some months ago a little idea popped into my head after visiting a handful of high schools with my daughter. All these middle and high schools had cool global studies programs that made me think of my Peace Corps days, and of the great joy it’d be to travel with students to other countries. I realized that I wanted the job of the adviser for the eighth grade trip my daughter will go on next year to Peru. I see my daughter and her classmates bonding with teachers, learning information from them but also big life lessons.
And I thought: why not me?
So I’m thinking about it. I’m considering it. I’m imagining what my family’s life would look like if I worked full time. I’m beginning to figure out what I need to do to become a teacher, which is probably what I should have done a long time ago. I’m 43, feeling like I have many years ahead of me to teach and learn, grow and give, work hard and get a few rewards, too.
I’m just whispering this idea right now, testing it out, saying it out loud as I proofread this little slice of life which is really not tiny at all: I want to be a teacher.