It has been quiet around here. And by “here” I mean this blog, not at my house or in my life. Haha. Because my life never really seems quiet. I have gone through a lot of change lately. I don’t really like change. I was talking to a woman today who is a substitute for a local school district. One day she will be at an elementary school as the copy clerk, the next, at the high school in english class, and the next at a middle school subbing for the secretary. As she was describing her various scenery changes I was attempting to imagine how I would fare with such a job. I couldn’t imagine it. At least not in a positive sense. Starting over every day, not knowing the student’s names or the class schedule, or a host of other details would be awful for me. I have a stinking suspicion that it would involve a lot of anxiety and subsequent depression. No thank you. I’ll take some consistency, yes, please.
One of the biggest developments for me in recent weeks has been that I accepted a full time job as a paraprofessional with a local school district (I help kids who need a little extra guidance and instruction). This is not something I planned on doing or even thought about much before I did it. I’ve been working full time for almost two weeks now and I still don’t believe it, or really comprehend it. I have been a stay-at-home mom since Mandy was born over 14 years ago. I’ve done freelance design and photography on the side here and there since I graduated with my art degree in 2006, but this is my first foray into the work force in a very long time. So long in fact, that when I filled out my application I did not have a resume to attach. I’m sure I didn’t look very good on paper, haha, but I was asked for an interview anyway. A week later I had my second interview, and not long after that I was filling out the mounds of paperwork associated with working at an elementary school. (Which I very much appreciate since I send my kids to schools in the district and I want the staff they associate with to be thoroughly vetted and screened.)
My first day of work went something like this…
I showed up dressed in my only pair of dress slacks. I had packed a small lunch that did not need to be refrigerated because I wasn’t sure if I would have access to a refrigerator (I do, haha). I arrived 10 minutes earlier than requested so I could breathe for a minute before painting my smile on and trying to hold it together in a sea of little humans who would soon be looking to me for answers to everything from questions about angles to questions about whether or not they can get up and wash their hands during the middle of lunch. The rest of the day is a bit of a blur. I met a lot of other staff. I forgot the name of the teachers whose classrooms I was working in. I gave wrong directions and right ones. I reminded myself to smile, a lot. I held my pee in far longer than was comfortable. I went to recess for the first time since my own elementary school years. Somehow I made it to 4:10. I hopped into my car and took what may have been my first deep breath since the ones earlier that morning. I plugged in my phone, cranked up the tunes and drove home, singing at the top of my lungs. When I walked in the door Maggie (she’s 5) ran right up to me and gave me a hug…and I held on for dear life. And I cried. And cried some more. I cried tears of survival, anxiety, fear, relief, and sadness. The reality hit me like a punch to the gut. I had just missed a day with Maggie and Will that I would never get back. My heart broke. They had spent the day with Donnie, and he’d been amazing to them, but I could not shake the feeling that my favorite job in the whole world had been handled by someone else. When I think to much on that thought, I still cry (like right now).
Since the first day things have gotten steadily better. I know almost all the names of the kids in the classes that I help in. I have figured out the schedule, mostly, for A, B, C, D, and E days. Mostly. I have realized how good I am at my job. I’m really good at it. I’m quite excellent at treating the kids like I do my own, giving them the tools to solve problems and the time to figure out the answers to said problems on their own. All that patience I’ve been cultivating as Maggie and Will got into multitudes of mischief, it’s my secret weapon. I am firm but kind. I am fun and hard working. And I really do love working with kids.
This new endeavor has changed the dynamic of our family a bit and it’s been incredibly difficult. There have also been blessings. I am not sure how long I will be doing this full time working girl thing. But I do know that I can do it. I really can do hard things.
I write all of this to explain my absence from my art world. From my business. From my previous way of life. I am still drawing in every spare moment I have. I am still working really hard on getting my coloring book printed (sent two emails just before I started writing this post…one to the printing warehouse I’m going to use and one to the printing office of the aforementioned warehouse.) I just have to do a little less art because I have become especially deliberate when it comes to my at-home time. Thank you for hanging in with me while I navigate this enormous change. Thank you for your continued support while I figure out my new normal. I will gladly be the recipient of your thoughts and prayers that I can do so with grace.
Also, you can all be a little jealous of me…I got to play parachute in PE today.
And here’s a drawing that I finished today. These sweet sisters will be included in my coloring book. They are eager and learning and kind. They read together and laugh together and no matter what happens, they have what it takes.