Next, Please

I catch myself staring at my engagement ring a lot. It’s new, acquired only two Saturdays ago when the man I love more than I ever realized I could love someone got down on his knee as asked me to be his forever. It’s shiny and beautiful, a piece he had designed especially for me. I love it and everything it represents. Sometimes I can’t believe that it’s real, that this man loves me and wants me to be his bride, but it is. Promising to be his forever was the easiest decision I’ve ever made.

One of my students asked me today during our class’s morning meeting if I was planning to come back and teach at the same school after I get married this summer. It was a question that caught me off-guard because I didn’t think my kindergartners would consider me not coming back to be a possibility. Apparently, my kids are ridiculously good at drawing conclusions. I knew I couldn’t lie to my kids, so I told them the truth: I’m not coming back next year.

The plan had always been simple: when he was ready, the Boy would move up to my city (remember: he currently lives 2.5 hours away from me). After all, I love my job, my family lives here, and (the clincher) I own my home. Plus, my city is just better than his, an opinion shared by many people. After he felt settled we’d get engaged, then married, and then start a family. Our [read: my] plan was perfect. And then his company handed him a promotion that we couldn’t say “no” to. I really mean “handed,” too. He didn’t apply for a new position, his boss just called him in, told him how awesome he was and that she wanted him to be in charge of this huge project. And after a lot of discussion (and a lot more prayer), we decided to do what was best for both his career and our future family and have me relocate instead.

I don’t want to leave my job. I don’t want to leave my home. I absolutely don’t want to leave my family. But my desire to marry Andy so overwhelmingly outweighs the “don’t want”s in my life that it’s a no-brainer. It doesn’t mean that it’s easy to walk away from the town I’ve lived in for the past 14 years and the people I’ve shared my life with, just that I know it’s the right decision, and I have peace about it.

This is about a month earlier than I planned to announce this (thanks, kindergarten!) so please, don’t be sad. Be excited with me that I’m engaged, that I get to spend the rest of my life with a man I love more by the day, and that I’m one step closer to getting to be someone’s mommy. Let me revel in all of these things, and revel with me, because it’s just more fun that way. There will be time in the future to be sad and to miss each other terribly, but it’s not today.

A Balancing Act

If you were to make a list of things I was good at, dealing with change wouldn’t make the top ten. Baking? Yes. Working with kids? Of course. Change? No. Especially when it can’t be defined as totally positive or totally negative.

Here’s the thing: I love my job. I get to spend my day teaching kids reading, math, science and the best part is, I get to make it fun. What we do in kindergarten is such a huge part of a student’s educational foundation, and it’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly. The students come to class excited each morning and even though it’s only been 5 weeks, I’ve seen an amazing amount of growth in each of them. Being there makes me feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be, doing what I was made to do.

(In case you hadn’t picked up on it, this part of my life change is the good part.)

But, here’s the other thing: My school is 45 minutes away and my kids are allowed in my room at 7:15 (in fact, by the time this posts to Facebook and Twitter, I will have already been at work for 15 minutes), so in order to get to work on time and feel set up properly, I need to leave my house between 6 and 6:15. This puts wake up time somewhere in the 5:30-5:45 range. Another thing that doesn’t crack the top 10 in “Things Kyla is Good At” is being awake in the morning, so you can probably imagine my daily battle with my alarm clock. By the time the day is done (ok, fine, we’ll be realistic – by 11am), I’m exhausted. I have 19 five year olds in my class and while I have infinitely much more support/resources than I did previously, I’m still the teacher and still the one who is responsible for what they learn or don’t learn. My day doesn’t end at 1:45 when the kids leave, or even at 2:45 when my contract says I’m allowed to leave. I have meetings with coworkers and parents. I grade papers (yes, even in kindergarten), write plans, and analyze what I could do better the next day. I go to bed thinking about projects I can do with my kids to make lessons accessible to different learning styles and sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night just to write down ideas. Every night I go to bed between 9 and 10, simply because I can’t hold out any longer and stay up any later.

(Here’s the part where the change is bad.)

I am exhausted, pretty much all the time. My free time and my friends’ free time don’t line up. At all.

I am not so foolish as to think that everyone else’s world would pause because I was not available. I am selfish enough, though, to want it to. I tried to hang out this weekend with two people I care very much about but haven’t been able to see lately. I should’ve been excited about the time I got to spend with them, but instead I was sad.  Sad because I had missed so many of the little life events that I used to know about as they happened. Sad because I had missed these people and knew it would be a while before I’d get to see them again. Sad because their worlds had continued without me. And sad because this, this inability to spend my free time with them, had begun and the more I thought about that, the more upset I got. Instead of enjoying the time I was getting, I was awkward and finally muttered some excuse about needing to leave and walked out.

I am embarrassed and upset and overwhelmed and at my breaking point. And I’m done with that.

One of the things that I believe strongly in is that there’s always hope because there’s always someone bigger who can redeem situations that I judge as hopeless. For the past few days, I haven’t been able to find any. I talked to Katie about some of the things I’m dealing with and her suggestion was that I take time to sort through things and find some resolution. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

My life has shifted. There’s no denying that things are different now and to try to maintain the same lifestyle I’ve been able to enjoy for the past few years is futile. But dwelling on that isn’t the right decision to make. If I spend the whole time staring in the rear view mirror I’m not going to see where I’m going and I won’t be able to enjoy where I am. So relationships will have to change, and the biggest issue for me to overcome with that is accepting that change as both positive and reality. Bear with me as I struggle to figure this all out, especially when I seem distant. Those distant moments happen because I feel the weight of everything and will probably continue to happen until I find a balance and a peace with all of this.

If you’ve missed me lately, know that I’m not avoiding you. And that more than I can adequately express, I miss you too.