I haven’t written for a while and this is a story about why. This blog is evolving (just as we all do) to be more about all of the ways that we live long and learn.
October 31, 2011 I was working my side hustle at an amusement park. I was in charge of one of the halloween haunted mazes. Specifically the farm themed maze. I was working on my paperwork and trying to finish all of the things that I needed to do that night. I went to walk away from the maze exit and stepped on a stray ear of dried corn. I rolled my ankle very badly. I fell pretty hard on the sidewalk and had to pick myself up and limped over to the ‘behind the scenes’ area to have it checked out. I had to call the first aid people out because I needed and ice pack and some pain reliever. They ended up driving me back to the main office and sending me home. I had to call my mom to pick me up because there was no way that I could drive with my ankle as bad as it was. She dropped me off at my apartment and I went up to bed.
The next morning, I got in my car and headed to school. I had been up half the night because my ankle hurt so badly and the other half the night was restless tossing and turning. I needed gas and some food before I drove to work. I pumped my gas and walked in for a breakfast sandwich and coffee. I paid and headed into work. About noon, my mom calls me and says that the Police had just called the house looking for me. I guess in my exhausted state of mind, I had gone in, paid for my food and forgotten to tell them I had gas and never paid for it. The words out of her mouth were “Renee get your life together and figure this out!” And she was serious.
I lost my mom very suddenly on February 19, 2018. She was my rock and the glue that kept my family pointed in a forward moving direction. During the past year, I have had to learn how to live my life without her. There are days that it seems easy and there are days where it feels unbearable and empty without being able to call her and tell her everything that I am thinking.
In July of 2018, I was teaching summer school and I literally cried my eyes out every morning on my way to school because I missed her and I dreaded the idea of teaching. I just wanted to curl up into a ball on my bed and weep. I knew that I couldn’t do that. That wasn’t what she would want. I could hear her telling me to “get my life together and figure it out.”
Then in that same month, on one of the last days of summer school, the new Executive Director at my school offered me a new position. I was to move out of the classroom and become the Technology Integration Specialist for the school. I was thrilled. I literally left school that day shaking and called my sister and told her that she had to listen to me for 3 minutes even though she was at work. It was an exciting moment for me.
I threw myself into my work and I told myself that it was a season in my life where I needed to focus on my career and that was ok. I knew that I had a lot to learn over the course of the next year. Fall break came and I worked straight through it. I worked over Thanksgiving break. I worked over winter break. I worked over long weekends and I even worked a little while on vacation with my family for Spring break.
I worked because it felt better to work than to actually face the demons that were waiting for me at home. I worked because I didn’t know what else to do. I worked because I didn’t feel there was much value to the life that I was living outside of work.
The past year has been one of the biggest challenges I have faced. It was a year with lots of professional learning. It was a year with lots of personal pitfalls that I tried to keep hidden.
This summer I have spent some time reflecting on my choices and the life that I am leading. It hurts less to think about Mom. My cries are fewer and farther between. I’m working on holding my head up and not getting buried in the work and remembering what it feels like to live outside of the school building.
I’m working on it mom. I’m trying to get my life together and figure it out.