The month of August is what I consider my "vacation" this year because I have been so busy with night school. My last class was Monday, the 6th. I handed in my final project and did a short teaching presentation in my subject area. I chose to do a math lesson using dollhouses in different scales to discuss proportion and scale. It went over very well; I was both relieved and pleased.
Today is Saturday and I feel as if I have accomplished nothing since Monday, effectively wasting my first week of "vacation." In fact, my goals for this month have little to do with resting and more to do with preparing to start teaching in September! But when I look back over the week, it was actually quite a full and productive one.
Tuesday, I puttered at home doing mundane chores and taking a well-deserved break. I didn't even leave the house other than taking DS and our dog Teddy to the ice cream stand after dinner.
Wednesday, we went to get his school uniforms. It was an hour drive to the store which is in Cardiff, NJ near Atlantic City, so since we drove all that way, we also went to the beach. This was not exactly relaxing, since it involved a lot of trekking back and forth to the bathroom and the car for various things, the heat was oppressive and the waves were quite rough which made swimming both dangerous and tiring, but I'm glad we went anyway. Getting the uniforms was an important thing to check off on my to-do list.
Thursday we headed to the children's hospital in the city for my son's ultrasound and five-year post-surgical checkup. It was an extremely long afternoon with lots of waiting. I was so proud of DS; he behaved himself so well and played quietly with the toys we had brought and the various activity cubes in the waiting areas. We didn't get lunch until four o'clock (McDonald's again, what else?) But the result was that we got the all clear from the doctor and he doesn't have to come back for any more followups. Praise God!!! I still get a lump in my throat when I think about all we went through and how lucky we are to have this healthy, active, intelligent child in our home. God is so faithful!
I also stopped at my old office to say hello to my former colleagues. We got there so late that only a few people were still there; most had already made the dash for their respective trains. I got the distinct impression that all is not well in the department and that it is a good thing I didn't decide to come back to work for them. What was really disheartening is that I waited for fifteen minutes to greet the department head when he came out of his office, a man I worked with on one of my major projects and whom I greatly respect and admire for both his scholarship and his character. He didn't even remember my name. Ouch!
Yesterday I cleaned the house, worked on my elf story and babysat three little girls all day. It was quite chaotic, but fun. We made Rice Krispy treats and they swam in the pool. In the evening, our friends came over for pizza and discussion of our joint trip to the Outer Banks later this month. I am really looking forward to the trip; partly because I know I can take my curriculum to work on and not be distracted by things at home. I'll just send them off to the beach and stay in the quiet house and do lesson plans. Heaven! I know that sounds odd, but having a solid hour or two to concentrate on anything is such a blessing!
I have two weeks until that time, and huge to-do list and a full calendar of appointments and playdates. I was really hoping to just focus on preparing for school, organizing those things I didn't get to yet (like my kitchen cabinets), shopping for fall clothes, doing some long-overdue sewing and finishing the dollhouse I bought in November. You know how it is... you set personal goals for things that you really want done but everything else seems to push them aside indefinitely.
I still plan to do a few of those but I have to remember that as much as I would like to focus on my own priorities, I'm part of a family dynamic now. I can't just barge through life with my own agenda the way I did ten years ago. I also have to recall that God has placed people in my life who are important to care for and who care for me, so it's not a bad thing to make time for them once in a while. A couple of my appointments in the coming week are "catch-ups" with friends of whom I have seen much too little this summer.
Anyway, I have accomplished a lot this week even if it wasn't quite the things I wanted to. I have learned to focus on what I have actually done rather than what I didn't do. Visiting my office made me actually feel a little guilty for leaving the rat race and taking this teaching job! But I know this is God's plan for me and that makes it right.
I have been very stressed-out about the school year but now that my own classes are over and my teaching presentation went well, I feel that a great weight has been lifted and am actually looking forward to the experience. In a way I feel a little guilty for having this wonderful job in such a supportive environment. It feels like a great blessing and a gift, after all the struggling and uncertainty I've experienced over the years.
It's been a long time since I've had the satisfaction of knowing that I am right in center of God's will for my life. It's a very good place to be.