So you may or may not know it but I have a job. Well…not for much longer actually. I have a few more days involving a luncheon and cleaning the workroom. And training my replacement.
And just for the record, I left voluntarily...well, God nudged me out but other than that it was on my own free will.
That being said, yesterday did not come without it’s share of tears and raw emotion.
OK, the raw emotion I kept stuffed in a compartment, but it was a very full compartment…like when you shove everything in a suitcase and have to sit on it in order to get it zipped.
It was kind of like that.
My work, in case you didn’t know, was as Assistant Director at our church’s preschool. The school just completed it’s fifth year, and I have been there for five years.
So yes, for those of you quick at math story problems, that means I have been there since the beginning.
Well, kind of. When my now-10yo was in the K4 (Kids Turning 4) class at another preschool, I thought…without a shadow of a doubt…that I would go back to school to get my teacher certification and then get a teaching job once my youngest hit Kindergarten.
There was a college at which I could take Saturday classes and in about 18 months I would have my certification…and the timing would be infallible because it would be right when both boys would be in school full-time.
It really was the perfect plan.
I had my application filled out for school, but was stumbling over whether or not to choose elementary or secondary. In my life before motherhood, I had worked at a private Christian school as an aide. I was with elementary kiddos at the beginning of my stint there, but by the end, I was with middle schoolers.
The school was one which had only been in existence a handful of years (are we seeing a theme in my life?) and originally only had classes through fifth grade. But with each year, they added the next grade (first year = through fifth grade; second year = through sixth grade; and so on). The year I was pregnant with my almost 12yo, their oldest group of students was seventh grade (so yes it was year 3 of the school…I’m sure you knew that, you quick-thinking readers you). That group, for some reason, was only 10 students in number, but nine of them were boys.
And they were the sweetest boys…they even let me open the window in the classroom in the middle of winter because I thought it was too hot in the room. They would put on sweaters and coats and I would be content in short-sleeves by the open window.
As any pregnant (or formerly-pregnant) lady can attest…sometimes it is like carrying your own personal furnace around with you, and it just can't be helped.
Plus, I knew that I was pregnant with a boy, so I couldn’t quite tell if that also played in to my affinity for the class. Or if it was because I was truly cut out to work with middle schoolers.
And it didn’t help that people kept telling me: if you love middle schoolers, you should work with middle schoolers. Because not very many people are cut out for that.
All this being said, I struggled on my application for which direction I should choose; my 99% complete application sat on the counter for days.
My angst was so much so that one Sunday morning, I was praying, “Lord, please make this decision clear. And if I’m not supposed to do this, close the door and open up another one.”
Well, I will admit that I didn’t really mean the part about closing the door…because this plan was P.E.R.F.E.C.T., right? I couldn’t imagine God would tell me to do anything different than what I was doing.
So…because He is God and I am not, the very morning I had prayed that…not even five hours later, my friend Fancy Nancy (well, she wasn’t exactly my friend at the time…I knew her from working with her at the preschool where I was an aide and she was the Assistant Director, but did not really know her well at all) came up to me and said she needed to talk to me.
She went on to say that she’d been feeling God nudging her for about two years that she was supposed to begin a preschool at our church and felt like she was supposed to ask me to join her in it.
What?!? (be sure to say that with the Minon’s voice from “Despicable Me”)
Immediately I began to pray, once I picked myself up off the floor.
- Um, God, I think you must have me mistaken with someone else…because I had the plan all laid out, remember? Let me explain it to you again. I was not going to work with preschoolers any more…two years was enough. Plus my kids are older and I should really be working full-time.
- Oh…you DID get my message? And I was mistaken? Oh yes, I DO recall something about asking you to open another door if the one I had my hand on was not the right one. But you know I didn’t really mean that, right? I mean, once you have a plan, you need to just say that..because of course you’re going to have me follow what makes sense, and not ask me to do something crazy.
- Oh…you might ask me to do something that I and the world see as crazy? Well, I’m going to have to think about that.
But it wasn’t.
But I still followed what I thought He might be leading. I’m going to guess that I didn’t get full credit on my Heaven test for that, but probably just partial.
You know what I mean by “Heaven test” don’t you? You’re actually taking the test now, but when you get to Heaven, you’ll see the chart in which God has been keeping score for all those things you did “in His Name” but didn’t always do fully for Him or did begrudgingly… I’m saying if it wasn’t totally for Him, you’ll get partial credit, and if it’s with a bad attitude, you get no credit at all. And not to worry…this isn’t really Biblical, but if I were God, I would be keeping track.
We’re probably all glad, for many reasons, that I’m not God.
If I’m honest, I’ve definitely gotten partial or no credit because of my bad attitude more often than not.
However, much to my delight (and that of Mr. Always Random), it was enough. And not only was it enough. Many times, if I am truly honest, it was MORE than enough.
And while we’re on the vein of God asking us to do crazy things, in the middle of the second year of preschool, Mr. Always Random and I began praying about whether or not to homeschool the boys. Up to that time, they had been in public school.
And though we had no issue or concern with the public school, we felt as though God was asking us (again) to appear a little crazy and begin homeschooling.
So in addition to being the Assistant Director of a preschool, I also homeschooled my boys.
I won’t lie and say it’s been all sunshine and roses. Sometimes it’s quite the opposite, to be quite honest. But that doesn’t mean it’s not what we’re supposed to be doing. I still believe…whole-heartedly…that we are to continue homeschooling our sweet boys (yes, I’m feeling a little sappy today as it’s our last official PBA day for the year…completing 188 of the necessary 180 days required by the great state of Indiana (yes, I said that correctly…it is 8 more days than required…I’m sometimes an over-achiever); and don’t tell the PBA but I have some fun “educational” activities planned for them…they will L.O.V.E. it!).
So crazy though it was, we made it through three years of homeschooling while I was also working; the PBA went to work with me (it was three days a week…NOT every day as that would have N.U.T.S.) and worked in an empty classroom while I did my job. I checked on them periodically, and if they had a question they would come and ask.
And while we’re still (kind of) on the topic of God asking us to do crazy things, about a year ago, I felt a niggling that I was supposed to let go of my fabulous job.
You know which one I’m talking about…the one I didn’t really want but God shoved me through. The one I told Him that He was mistaken about. The one that didn’t pay enough money.
Yeah, that’s the one. Turned out to be the B.E.S.T. job I’ve ever had.
And it was the longest I ever worked somewhere. I don’t know what that says about me, but don’t judge.
At first, I thought that I might just be feeling unsettled because last summer was not at all as I had anticipated, and I felt a little “off” at the beginning of the school year.
In case you don’t know, I like to know what’s coming next. So you can see why sometimes I have trouble letting go and letting God lead me. Not always but sometimes. I am getting better. I think.
God may disagree.
And though in this instance, we still don't know what He has next for us, we are committed to following Him and trusting Him. We've come this far with Him, and we know He won't leave us or forsake us. That's Biblical, in case you didn't know. (Hebrews 13:5)
Usually my clue about what I’ll be doing next (or at least in the future at some point) is when I say something to the effect of, “I will/would/could never (fill in the blank).”
Case in point:
- I will never live in Indiana once I graduate from college.
- OK, maybe I’ll live in Indiana but I won’t live in Greenwood.
- I will never have boys.
- I won’t name my children with the same first letter (true some of you don’t know my kiddos names but yes, I did that).
- I won’t drive a minivan (which I don’t now but have and loved it)
- I would never homeschool…those people are crazy.
I could go on but I won’t. I suspect that you’ve gotten the idea.
So, all that being said, I felt as though this past school year would be my last. For no reason which I could discern, but it was simply time. Time for God to move me on to something else.
And time for someone else to be blessed in this job (I am thrilled to bits, BTW, that it is my good friend SV who is taking over my spot…she will do such a fabulous job!).
Anyway…long about October, I confessed to my partner-in-crime (also known as the Director of the preschool) what I was sensing. And I asked her to pray. Unbeknownst to me, she’d been feeling the same way.
In January we confirmed with one another that May would be the end for me.
And yesterday was that last day (mostly…last one with the kiddos anyway).
I woke up in the morning…heart racing, stomach churning, and eyes hot with tears.
I didn’t want to leave. Why did I have to leave? I love this job. These children. Their families. The staff.
Oh, my heart hurt. And my head too.
Before I left the house, I had managed to cry and dry it up 4 times.
Oh yes, emotions were feeling raw.
Still a little raw as I’m even recalling them now.
As we were walking out the door, my 10yo (very innocently) said, “It’s kind of weird to think that this is the last day we have to go to the preschool.” (Yes, it has been difficult on them at times, but I am so thankful that their complaints have been kept to a minimum. And I suspect they have kind of enjoyed it as time has gone on. But I know they won’t miss it.)
My eyes got big and I started fanning my face…all to stop the tears from spilling over. “Let’s not discuss that it’s the last day, ok?”
The PBA looked at me a little stunned but nodded.
Then my husband (who I thought was engaged in the conversation but apparently wasn’t) said, “Well, have a good last day!”
I bit his head off and walked out the door.
So clearly the day was off to a fantastic start.
We went to the gym first (it’s become my routine on work days); and I cried on the drive to the gym.
I cried when we left the gym and went to the church.
I cried while I was getting ready at the church.
I started to cry when two different people (again, innocently) asked how I was doing. I said, “Fine but I can’t talk about it.”
Then the day got so busy (what with the graduation events and such…and that’s the responsibility of the Assistant Director) that I didn’t have time to dwell on it.
And I made it through the whole school day with nary a tear. Not even during the slideshow, which gets me EVERY SINGLE TIME (and I’m the one who puts it together).
Not even this song.
Sorry…should have warned you to break out the Kleenex beforehand.
Anyway….I was cool, calm and collected. Well, maybe not calm, but I didn’t cry. That was the goal.
I even prayed about it. It went something like this: “God, help me keep a handle on this! I don’t want to cry all day!”
And He answered.
But, after the program, what almost got me was my 11yo (repeatedly) putting his arm around me and asking, “Are you ok?”
I think I may have scared him a little bit with my outburst in the morning.
“Yes, darling, I’m fine, but thanks for asking.”
And then a few minutes later, he’d ask me again.
He clearly didn’t believe me. And I can understand why…it was a 180 from the morning. I was even surprised at my composure.
My 10yo had an entirely different approach. He also put his arm around me with a big hug and said, “It’s ok, you can let it out now.”
“But sweetie, I’m fine…I don’t feel like crying.”
“Good…then you can let it all out on Tuesday when I’m not here. I hate the face you make when you cry.”
“Well, thank you…I really feel your compassion. BTW: No woman ever wants to hear that you don’t like how her face looks when she cries.”
“Well, I just meant that I don’t like to SEE you cry.”
"But that's not what you SAID."
"But that's what I MEANT..."
Not exactly buying it, but I do give him an “A” for his quick attempt to recover from a poorly-thought out and inconsiderate statement. Good thing he has time to fine-tune that before he gets married.
And yes, I wrote this entire post as a set-up to that part at the end about the PBA. I kind of got off on a tangent. Apparently there were some things in there that you people needed to hear. I don’t know who was supposed to hear what, but I pray that you did, especially considering how long it probably took for you to read this rambling diatribe.
I can’t believe you’re still reading…pull the rip cord already! I am…because frankly I’m tired of writing.
Have a fabulous day!
Because of privacy issues and such with the kiddos of the preschool where I work, I took the opportunity to throw in some adorable photos of the PBA on their graduation days from Preschool. They are both shown with Fancy Nancy. She hates to read so she'll never.even.know...which is too bad because she looks beautiful as always. And the PBA commented when they saw the post, "She still looks exactly the same!"