I went into school this morning to meet with my long-term sub and prepare for next week’s return. And now my stomach is in knots again like it is every year before the first day of school – equal parts anticipation, and reluctant submission. Only this time, it’s different. It’s more intense – both the excitement and the dread.
I was surprised to find that the adult conversation and interaction was intellectually stimulating and made me a little giddy. I felt almost tipsy – although, it might have been the exuberance with which I drank my morning coffee – sucking it down as though I could stock up energy reserves for the future. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed conversation with my colleagues in the past, it’s just that, well, after four months at home with only Dylan & the dogs to talk to, I sort of felt like a caged animal let out of captivity for the first time. You know – fresh air, room to stretch my legs, etc. It was nice.
I was also pleasantly surprised (at myself) when a friend asked me if it (motherhood) was getting any easier yet, and I said yes, without hesitation. Looking back, I’m not sure when, exactly, I turned a corner in this whole adventure, but there is definitely a difference between the mama I am today and the mama I was two, three, four months ago. I’m no expert (nor do I ever intend to be), but I have found that I do saddle Dylan in the ERGO carrier with a bit more finesse, I can nurse him in any random chair without the need of the BOPPY pillow (or even an armrest), and I can change his cloth diapers (even the really dirty ones) with relative ease and swiftness. I don’t even fight with the five-point harness on the car seat like I used to (and for the record – every time I did battle with the car seat, the straps had me turned inside out and upside down. I felt like a complete imbecile every time Josh had to rescue me from the entanglement). So there’s that. Slowly, but surely, I’m getting more accustomed to this role. It took going out in public and being asked that specific question to realize I’ve made progress.
My long-term sub was good. Too good. He may be a first-year teacher, but he’s kind and capable and efficient and organized and creative and enthusiastic. The kids are going to hate my return and resent me for it – especially the freshmen. I can already hear them whining “That’s not how our last teacher did it…” I have to start preparing my defense mechanisms now. Sorry kids, the reign of terror has begun.
I only have one prep period throughout the school day during which I can pump, and it’s at 10am. Unless I also give up my 20-minute lunch break (a pathetically brief, but real opportunity to socialize with adults during the school day), I’m worried my milk supply will dry up. I’m also worried about all sorts of ills I can’t even predict yet that have to do with leakage and other embarrassing nursing-related moments, etc. If my emotional response to this could manifest itself physically: picture a tableau of me crouching down, shoulders tensed & drawn up, eyes closed, and fingers sticking in my ears. La la la la la la la la. I don’t want to hear it, or even think about this yet. If I pretend it’s not there, will it just go away?
All in all, it was a productive morning. I’m hopeful that things will fall into place when the time comes, but I am so happy to be home right now, back in my bathrobe, with Dylan in my arms, where I belong.