First off, I woke up from my first school year nightmare at 5:30. Every summer seems to conclude with me having panic dreams about me in a classroom with no control over my students, and this year's adapted to include my anxiety about my curriculum and my new position as an Instructional Coach. It sucked, so I woke up, and then there was the realization that it was pretty much time to wake up.
Today they whined about us leaving them. That was rough to hear.
Then we get Jackson to his day care and got him all checked in. There was a crib with his name on it, and the teacher we met seemed very nice. Here he was, checking things out.
In the morning, the infants' rooms are combined as people checked in, which meant Jackson was sharing the room with older crawlers. Before we left, we watched through the window as an older baby got uncomfortably close to our baby. That was rough to watch.
But he needs that interaction, we know. And he's in very capable hands, we know/hope. So we headed out to go to school, and as I waited to make a turn, I looked in the rear view mirror. There, reflected in Jackson's little mirror, was the empty car seat. We've gone places without Jackson before, but never anywhere with an empty car seat being as he is still carried around in his car seat. Seeing it empty reminded me we had left him somewhere. That was so rough to see.
At school, people invariably asked us about Jackson. Every mother who had ever left a child in day care asked Noelle how she was doing, which is really not helping the situation for anyone. Everyone take note - just assume the mom is sad. You don't need to verify it. Of course, when people talked to me, they only said how hard it must be for Noelle. I guess they don't realize I'm one of those softy sensitive men who doesn't mind emoting, and I shouldn't feel slighted, but I missed him too. Anyway, long story short - rough day.
Here's the worst part though. My new position means I no longer have my own classroom, so one of my tasks today was to finish dismantling my classroom. I've taught in that room for three years now, and that was three years worth of posters and cards and projects and journals and pictures that I had to now box up or throw away. Here's a picture of my room as it was last year, when my students all put their heads down simultaneously on April Fools.
Noelle has been an English Teacher Widow before. I have spent many nights working away at school, grading papers and entering grades, and her efficient, organized habits keep her from having to do the same. But to do it today was the worst. Jackson was out of wack from the new experience, and, as I've repeated not-so-inconspicuously above, it had been a rough day for us all. But I had to do my work, so after we got home, I fought every urge to nap to return to school.
Well, the classroom is barren now. No toasters, no posters, no projects, no nothing. A blank slate (with thousands of staples in the wall) for a new teacher to spend his nights trapped inside. My boxes have made their way to my office, and most of my materials are to be divvied up tomorrow at a meeting. The hours away were productive and destructive. I came home to find the family asleep.
I don't want any more days like Day 100. As much as I love my students, I don't want saying goodbye to summer to be equivalent to saying goodbye to my family. I've got to change as a teacher to ensure that doesn't happen. Now I just have to figure out how to make that happen. Hopefully, son, when you read this, you'll see where I made a commitment to ensure you had a dad that was always there for you. Hopefully, "Cats in the Cradle" will mean nothing to you.
I miss summer and those first 99 days.