When I wrote about Mother's Day, I said it was a day that made me feel childLESS, not childFREE, and I was not alone in making that distinction.
This week though, I am feeling some of the benefits of being childFREE.
I went on the 8th grade Washington D.C. trip as a chaperone for the first time, from 5:30 am.m Thursday to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, and holy hell was that a whirlwind of craziness. It was fun, but as I experienced clogged toilets and puking children and the endless energy of the bus ride (FOUR Disney movies, FOUR, despite having a bus breakdown an hour before Gettysburg and ending up sharing the three other buses all day Friday -- Zootopia Thursday, Monsters Inc/The Lion King/Big Hero 6 Saturday) -- I felt like, "ok, I can do this through school in small batches, I'm good with that." I mean, I used to bristle a lot more when people would say, "Oh, you're a teacher, all your kids are like YOUR kids," but honestly it does feel like there is some truth to that statement. Having a boatload of 13-14 year olds at once is no one's dream, but while I have them, they are mine and I love them and I can take care of calling maintenance to help fix the toilet and advise children not to walk all over the soggy towels mopping up poo water to show me how squishy they are and soothe children who have puked in the recycling bin. Also, I got quite a lot of hugs.
But then, I got to go home, and instead of having to take care of children of my own, I could snag a little of Bryce's time and sleep until 11 on Sunday and not have to cook for small people or get them ready for school or lessons or whatever. I could recover without needing to split my energy.
And, with Bryce deep, deep in his qualification exam prep, I can help out and not feel super resentful because I am doing all the childcare. I am picking up more catcare and housecare, but it's not the same as if we had small children. And I am grateful in a weird way for that.
I feel like it's major progress, to be grateful.
Especially since one of my girls on the trip said, "Do you have kids, Mrs. T?" and I realized I have her in Social Studies and so she hasn't been privy to my tale of woe, so I said, "I don't -- it didn't work out. Mr. T and I tried for 8 years in many different ways, but it just NEVER worked out." [mildly cringey, didn't clarify that we did IVF and then adoption and not 8 years of the creepy adult teacher sex]
"Even adoption? What about adoption?"
"Nope, not even adoption. Two years of adoption turned out to be all we could handle. Sometimes you just don't get what you want."
"Oh no, that's so sad!"
"Yes, yes it is. But it's okay. Sometimes things just don't work out."
I DID NOT CRY. It was all very matter-of-fact. And in my head, I thought, "And now I can give so much more to you guys, to my wonderful students who I love and embarrass and laugh with as if they are my own, but then I go home to my quiet house at the end of the day and recoup.
Which doesn't seem so bad anymore, actually.
Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!