As I emerge from school at 2:05pm, clunking in my heels in an effort to get to the car a few seconds faster, I fumble in my bag for keys and blip the car open. Bags are flung into the back, as as I slide into the driver's seat while calculating if I'll get to the supermarket in time to then get to school and my kids. Realising this driving time can be utilised for talking, I call hubby.
I point out that today was my first almost-normal day of work since we welcomed kids into our lives. Eleven-and-some years ago. Of course, as any mother knows, I've been working all this time, likely harder than any other time in my life. I studies too. I volunteered, and settled my family into two new cities in this time. I opened a business. But today was different, but oh-so familiar and wonderful. I was in a school for most of the school day - to 2pm anyways - from right after drop-off. Tomorrow even longer.
It's the end and the beginning of eras. With our youngest in year two now, it is me back at work in education every day, seeing the end of my mostly-at-home time with young children. It's old and new all in the one transition, with me being back in classrooms and often with one school once again, but not as a classroom teacher. It's a new school system full of new acronyms, although this is where I was a students once, so many years ago. I'm learning a new education language, and realising I already speak it, just with an American accent. It's exciting and daunting all at once.
I heard a podcast a while back about 're-launchers'. They're people like me, mainly mothers, who have taken time to raise kids, then face the reality of this time-out when heading back to work. The speaker rallied me, framing it all in terms of opportunity, both for the launchee and the landing point. I told anyone who'd listen how exciting this time has been, really meaning it. But it's also exhausting. Adjusting to a new lifestyle, new demands, new schedules. When I'm working in school and hearing about all the things that come up day to day I have to bite my tongue and remind myself that in comparison, things are pretty manageable for me. After all, I've been here before, in a different time and place.
But surely I can lament, just one more time, about what I've lost. Forgetting about the sleepless nights and toilet training, that time of being mostly home with those teeny humans was bliss. Who doesn't want to take a nap every day and spend days in the park or the library?
Oh. Now I see. It's the finite nature of this time that made it so wonderful for a person like me. And so, as I embark headlong into the next phase, I will cherish the memories and look back with fondness...as I wrangle kids to school and battle the traffic to get to work on time.