Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Hanging On and Letting Go

I'm a little bit of a pack rat. I like to hold on to things that have sentimental value. Or that I may want or need some day. Even when I can't, for the life of me, think of how I will need that item.

And I don't really like change. I suppose I'm a bit of toddler in that way. I like it when the expectations are clear. When I know what's going to happen next. I don't like taking risks. Or even contemplating changing my life, really. Even though I'm a worst-case-scenario planner. Which is borne of hatred for, or more accurately my fear of, change.

So going to law school wasn't that bad. But becoming a lawyer. Well that's a pretty big change. I was still reeling from my decision to take a "teacher on special assignment" position to work in teacher training at the County Office of Education for a while. Leave education entirely? Never. I don't think I ever really thought it would happen.

But today it did. Because today I had to submit my official resignation as a classroom teacher to my school district. I know, I know-- some of you didn't even know I was a teacher. Or tenured. But I was. And there was this great sense of peace in knowing that I could always just go back to the classroom. Which I absolutely loved. It beat me up. Teaching. I'm not very good at saying no, and I always ended up on a million committees. And every minute I gave to the school and the district and my students was a minute I wasn't giving to my family. And I wasn't really being compensated for it in the traditional sense of compensation.

I know that leaving teaching is right for my family. Right for the bigger picture. My kids will be better off because it means, eventually, that they will have a full-time, at-home parent. And I know they'll benefit from that.

But letting go of the title. And more importantly of the security. Well, it's been hard. And I've waited until the very last day to do it, knowing I would but not feeling ready to let go yet. But as a tenured teacher on a leave of absence this year, I was holding a spot that could be given to another teacher -- a teacher who might otherwise lose their job in this giant pink-slipping mess that the California budget has thrown our public schools into. And so I know it's only fair to resign. To let someone who plans to teacher in the right here and the right now have the job position. But knowing that intellectually and feeling okay with letting go-- well, they just aren't the same thing.

So today I feel a little sad. I know resigning is the right thing to do. If anything, it will push me to be a better attorney-- I can't take the attitude that if things don't work out, I have something else. Because this is it.

And I wonder-- if I have this much trouble letting go of a job, how on earth will I ever let go of my kids? In the best sense of the phrase I mean-- in the sense of letting them be their own people; in the sense of supporting them as they take risks in their own lives. If only I could just freeze this moment in time-- and yet, I know that each passing day, I love them more. I learn from them. And I want for them to be independent, self-sufficient, self-assured people. So let go I must. Little by little. Gradually. I'll never be good at this letting go thing. But in my heart and in my mind I know that one of my most important jobs as a mother is to do just that.


Anonymous said...

congratulations!!! and here's to courage and moving forward....clink champagne glasses now.

alison from dallas.

:::delinda::: said...

Wow, you had to resign...already?? It seems too soon. That would be hard for me too. But you know me, risk-adverse as well :)

Chic Shopper Chick said...

At the risk of sounding dorky, that is such a profound thought -- that learning to let go of your kids is one of the most important things you can do for them. Heck, I haven't even let my 14 month old sit outside in the grass yet when she's not on a blanket. So, I have some work to do in that department too.

I am, by trade, a teacher as well. Everyone told me how perfect it is being a teacher when you have a family -- better hours, 3 months off, etc. but during the school year, I work longer hours it seems than other people, because I'm up late grading papers, planning, and overall trying to provide my students with the very best of me -- because I owed them that. Unfortunately, my family didn't get the best of me all the time, and it wasn't fair.

Congratulations on making a great decision for your family.