This week has been a blur. The first day of school for teachers was Tuesday, and then from there it just became this runaway train of getting back to routines I've not had for ten weeks. I feel lucky that I didn't have crazy nightmares about school this week, and that I didn't have that panicky feeling of "OHMYGOD, I've totally forgotten how to teach...what happens if I get up there and I blank out???" This was a real thing last year before school (don't worry, I didn't really forget).
It didn't help that it was freaking hot, as in 90 and a zillion percent humidity, and my school (like so many others in Western New York) HAS NO AIR CONDITIONING. It was as sticky and funky as I thought it might be, and I am hoping that the forecast of dropping into the 70s this week is true. I can't take any more. And Friday I was pretty sure that a fair amount of funk was coming from me, despite twice a day showering. Not a good feeling.
It was an interesting week, with people asking about adoption updates and me feeling ever so slightly less optimistic than last year, although I do a good job of playing up the little play we got this summer. I just sound less like "Could be ANY DAY now!" and more like, "Well, IF it happens this year."
I also had to call my parents (I mean my students' parents), which is a good idea anyway to open up the door of communication and introduce yourself. My resource period is 9th, and for the past two years no parents have stayed that late at open house. The traffic getting out when everyone lets out is UNBELIEVABLE, so sometimes they jet out (most of the time they have met me in the consultant teacher English class anyway, but then they miss my own spiel), I don't really blame them. 9:20 is LATE. So, I decided this year that I would call and then introduce my strange situation... that Bryce and I are adopting (SO many "Congratulations!") but that the baby is utterly hypothetical and the process is chock full of uncertainty (SO many awkward silences), so I want to give them the heads up that I could, feasibly, go out on maternity leave with as little notice as a couple weeks, or I could have several months' notice, or it could not happen this year at all. There is a transition plan (sort of...since we can't exactly keep someone on hold for a possible maternity leave that could be years in the making) and the principal is super supportive and I will do everything possible to get someone up to speed to take my place if that happened this year. Then I laughed my dark laugh and said, "Of course, I had this same exact conversation with my parents last year, and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING happened, so maybe it won't affect your child at all." In retrospect, that's probably not so soothing, because I could hear the wheels turning (oh...she's in her second year of waiting...it's MORE likely to happen this year than last). But, in most cases the conversation went smoothly and everyone appreciated the early contact. It was just exhausting. Necessary though, because in the English class we wrote our letters as teachers to model the letter that we want our students to write -- to get their story. They aren't sanitized. By the end, students know my parents divorced, I divorced, teaching wasn't my first career, and we're having a baby...through adoption. (Hilarious to see how many students look up at my stomach when I say "and someday hopefully soon...a baby!" and then rethink it when I say we're in the adoption process. Fascinating that the number one question I get is about where the baby will come from.) The more honest we are in our letters, the more free they feel to share their true stories with us -- which often include things like tragic parent loss, divorce situations, anxiety/depression, struggles with sexual orientation/identity, and hard transitions from moving a lot. I love reading these letters, it reminds me of the whole child we're trying to teach. They reveal so much that lies beneath the surface.
This week was one of other reveals, too... two pregnancies (both second) and two adoption matches. It felt a little like, YOU get a baby, and YOU get a baby, and YOU get a baby, and YOU GET A BABY, but uh, NO BABY FOR YOU! Like being the only one in Oprah's studio to NOT get a car. It's funny, being in a place where I'm watching not only pregnancies happen around me but successful adoptions, too. I didn't cry or get super funked or anything like that, because that's just WHAT IS now. Happiness for others, and a little numbness for myself.
Facebook was a little tough this week and I stayed off it for the most part because every time I went to see what was happening, it was a sea of back to school pictures. Which have never really bothered me in the past, but it's that whole passage-of-time thing. It's hearing/reading about parents choking up about that first bus ride, and being like...is that ever going to be me? It's seeing comment after comment of "time moves so fast!" and feeling like, DOES IT EVER. And yet, some of these children going off to kindergarten were conceived when we were also trying, and here we are...with our cats. Nothing has changed in any real way, despite the pack-n-play and car seats in the back storage room.
Today I asked Bryce what we were going to do for our wedding anniversary this year -- it's number seven, and I'd kind of like to do something to commemorate it, since while it is tied to our infertility journey longevity, I find it necessary to celebrate the GOOD things in our lives. That we don't want to stab each other (all the time, ha) after seven years of dealing with incredibly difficult situations is pretty special. The funny thing is, Bryce asked, "Well, what did we do last year?"
You know what we did last year? WE HAD A BABY SHOWER. Time just keeps moving on, and everything stays the same. He snorted a bit, because while it's as funny as it is not funny.
I want to go away somewhere for a weekend, to have a romantic fall thing. I'm not sure if that's feasible given his PhD course schedule, but I'd like to try. It would be lovely to have something to look forward to. If that's not possible we'll figure something else out, maybe a staycation or a night in a local hotel where we can pretend we're elsewhere.
In the meantime, I've had a wonderful week with my new students, and it's been good to get back in the swing of teaching. Such a strange career, where you are so immersed for 10 months of the year and then have 2 months where you are removed (okay, one month, since August is essentially get-ready-time), and then have to transition back. Every year on the same cycle. It's nice, though, because every year the kids change, the climate changes, I get to reinvent what I do in those several-week increments that I teach important skills and how to be a decent human. So it's predictable, but changes, too. I am forever in 8th grade, and that I don't mind at all.
I will feel better when school is really up and going and open house is over (man I hate Open House... talking in front of adults, a growing number of whom are my age or younger, make me tremble a bit), and I'm solidly in the routine. I love, love, love being in the classroom again, helping kids to learn and grow during one of the most awkward times in their lives. I can concentrate on the good things...our anniversary, my love of teaching...and maybe that will help me feel more hope than numbness in this limbo we live in. Even though it feels that way more often than not right now, it won't last forever.