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The First Day Back*

The First Day Back*

Well, it’s finally over: my first day back to work is under my belt.

I’m not going to lie, I was a giant ball of stress nerves all of last night and this morning. I can’t even really place my finger on why–part of me wondered if I still have “it”, another part worried that I wouldn’t be able to juggle the kids’ morning routine with leaving for work, another part wondered if it would still feel the same going back to my old school, if I’d be able to recall basic skills like MLA formatting or grammar. I was up late getting everything ready for today, and when I finally crashed into bed sometime after 11, all the lunches were packed, the house was tidy, kids clothes were laid out and my teacher bag was ready. I was all over the map with my feelings about leaving the kids but loving my job and I barely slept. I managed a few 60 minute spurts where I was wracked with vivid, stressful dreams, then P woke up and needed a snuggle around 2. My “rest” after that wasn’t very restful.

As it turned out, I worried for nothing.

I woke up early, showered and got myself ready before M and I tag teamed breakfast for the kids and getting them dressed. I flew out the door at 7:35 and pulled into work just after 8am. It was like coming home as soon as I walked in. The secretaries greeted me with huge hellos and hugs, and I bumped into former colleagues (and friends) every few feet. I ended up with a first period prep, and that gave me time to breathe a little before launching myself back into a classroom for the first time in over two years.

…and it was wonderful. I taught three of my favourite courses and the kids were so good. They did their work, laughed at my corny jokes and made me feel like maybe I’m still funny. Like maybe I haven’t lost “it” after all.

I had lunch with friends, and saw so many people I so enjoyed working with a few years back. By the end of the day I was tired, but happy. I had to rush out to drive back to get the kids from school, so I switched gears and went back into Mama Mode. S & H were so happy to see me, and we all drove home to see P. It was a glorious 15 minutes or so, then the boys started fighting about toys, H made a huge gross mess that I had to clean and a throbbing headache that had been threatening me all day settled in.

All I wanted to do was sit on the couch or nap, but it was after 4:30 and the kids were already whining about being hungry. So, I dragged myself into the kitchen to start dinner, cursing myself for putting chicken stew on the menu. I really would have been content with a bowl of cereal, but I already had the chicken cooked in the fridge and needed to use it.

It was 6 when we finally sat down, and as we began to eat my mind began spinning with lunch packing for the next day, and I realized that we were totally out of the sandwich meat H likes. That meant a whirlwind trip to the grocery store with the boys, and let’s just say that P was less than cooperative while we shopped. He may or may not have been chucking his chocolate covered blueberries at random people shopping. I’m just going to pretend that he was “sharing”.

I was supposed to go to a meeting for my church calling tonight, but after everything I was so done in. I texted to let them know I wouldn’t make it, dragged the boys into the house, crawled up the stairs to hide… and cried. I had a good heart wrenching cry for a few minutes, and just savored a few minutes alone in my rocking chair. I loved being back at work today, but it was also hard switching back and forth from mom to teacher to mom with so little down time. After two years of relatively quiet life at home, I really needed to be “on” all day today. It took more out of me than I expected.

So, I cried. And then I felt better.

In the midst of all this chaos I got a call to go and work at my other favourite school tomorrow– the school I worked at right before my mat leave started. I’m so tired that I can barely see straight, but I am excited to go. My first day is done, and I know I can survive another. I’ll figure this routine out eventually and I’ll laugh remembering how stressed out I was about going back.

But for tonight, I have lunches to pack then it’s off to a bed that is screaming my name.

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