Today is my mandatory retirement day...the finish line to the teaching job I had a recruiter offer me back in 1989. A job I was not interested in having--a job I had no idea even existed. Were it not for a brave, sweet, mother...a stranger to me...in the midst of small talk about the ages of our kiddos, softly speaking these words: "You need to homeschool your son."...I might never had heard the call of my recruiter.
Even so I doubted...like Sara of old...laughing at the craziness of it all. "Tim will surely put the damper on this job offer...no way in ___will he think this is a good idea."
"How was your conference session babe?...what did you learn about rock dating that you were not taught in college?"
His reply of excitement entailing words for which my brain had no context of understanding...which translated to this non-scientific thinking brain, "fantastic!".
Then he posed a similar question to me, inquiring of the non-scientific session I had attended
"Well *laughing with a sarcastic tone threaded in my tongue of reply*...the speaker was amazing and happens to be a homeschooling dad, what's more, a woman who sat next to me had the gall to tell me that I needed to homeschool. Can you believe that...what a wacko, right?"
It was next that my recruiter dropped his nuclear bomb. It came via my husband's mouth, a mouth, with the exception of a handful of times, speaks the word "no" even when his eventual answer ends up being a "yes".
"I think we should look into it" he replied...a life-learning-love laden bomb sentence that changed the course of our family's history.
I wish I were attending a retirement party for myself...a party where every person who ever spoke a word of encouragement, shared their honest homeschooling struggles and fears, or wrote an article/book of application to my journey would be in attendance.
I could kiss each and every one of them on the cheek, thank them for their contribution to my job title and hand them a Starbucks gift card. The guest list would be immense. The curriculum writers and vendors alone would take hours to honor. The dedicated convention organizers...the speakers...the support group meeting hostesses...the hundreds of parents who volunteered to judge events like our homeschool achievement days and science fairs...women who took the time to answer my questions along the way when their kids were most likely needing their attention... field-trip organizers...sports coaches and referees...coop participants...fellow colleges who were impassioned to offer classes I enrolled my students in...and most importantly -- those moms who were willing to trade kids for the day every-so-often providing sweet hours for refueling!
I would offer a bouquet of sporting event tickets (he hates coffee) to my amazing husband and land him the deepest sloppiest kiss ~
He weathered these years by my side being the solid provider and faithful humorist. He played with my students...giving them the side of me I did not know how to access in the midst of performing as principal and teacher. He sent me off to convention every year and supported my off-shoot adventures including essential girlfriend time. Thank you Lover for enduring life with an untrained teacher as she strived to stay at least one step ahead of her class...your living breathing heritage.
I would offer a book to each of my graduates...a magic book that told the story they can not recall. The story of a humble mother's dedication to them...their callings and their faiths. I had not a goal higher than instilling in them the passion of kneeling faith paired with the relentless search for truth. The story would not hide the times that I failed them miserably, but too, it's chapters would herald the beautiful countless moments I did not...for my recruiter made sure for them that I met the mark...in-spite of me.
With my heart quite sad I say "goodbye sweet teaching career"...I thought it would feel more like release than this. "Turns out you gifted me indescribable bricks of gold I get to hide in my heart forever!!!".
"I will miss you so"~