I aborted my mission in mid-flight. I didn’t abort a baby. So if you are here to read about my aborted fetus, well, that’s not what this post is about. I just wanted to get your attention and have you read my writing. I am selfish. I hope I didn’t scare you. (Is that wrong?)
I couldn’t sleep, so I got up to see if the teaching position I just resigned from had been posted on the jobs web site.
There it was.
Someone else will get my spot.
Fill my shoes.
Take my classroom.
Teach my kids.
Have my healthcare.
Meet with my teammates
Go on the outdoor trip I plan
It is like I am the captain of the ship and I made a sharp turn and everyone on board may get tossed around or fall over.
The gravity of the situation lands as I watch the dominoes begin to fall. Once in motion, they will not stop until they reach the end. Where is the end of my choice? Where do the ripples of my actions stop?
I was so busy trying to get myself off the fence and just make a decision that I could not consider the kids. I had to decide. I had to tell them soon. I had to get myself up there, hand in my resignation, and follow through on what I imagined myself doing.
And I did. And it is done.
And the kids. Some of them so excited to find out I was their teacher that they ran to me in the hallway, threw their arms around me and squeezed with all their might. Others waved in passing, jumped up and down and told me, “I can’t wait to have you next year!”
They told me what they were looking forward to. Dance breaks. Yoga. My humor. Our annual trip to the mountains. I pulled out on all those things. I am letting down a whole gaggle of kids. I am Satan. (Is that harsh?)
I could have done it differently. I could have gone through another year; I would have done my best. I would have showed up everyday, just like I have always done, and stayed until my feet were sore, legs tired, mind drained. I would have drifted home, in a daze, skipped yoga, or working out, way too tired for that, managed some dinner, maybe worked a little more, graded a few papers, and found my way to the couch or bed to rest enough to get up and do it again.
I want to know the consequences of my actions.
What if I did it wrong?
Those children I would have known and loved and carried with me in my heart forevermore now will not have me as their fifth grade teacher. I will not know them. I won’t hear their funny jokes. I won’t see the way they change over the seasons and slowly open up to me like a softening flower in bloom. I won’t know their secrets, the curl of their smile, or the sweet light that shines in their eyes. I miss them already. My heart hurts. I hope I make something of this year in my life, because I gave up the glow of knowing the heart of a child. Thirty hearts, really.
A thread of connection has been severed with no anesthesia.
I yanked out the tooth before it was ready.
After I checked the job posting I went to my work email. I saw the note my principal sent out to the staff. It read, “Rachel Haynes has decided not to return to Alpine next year. We are sad to see her go, and celebrate all the great things she did for kids while she was here!”
That one line, “all the great things she did for kids while she was here…” that one line jerked forward my tears.
It is true. I did a lot of great things for kids while I was there. I gave it all I had. My heart. My love. And those kids did a lot of great things for me, too.
We just never can tell, really, the ways in which we’ve contributed to another, soothed away their pain, been a gentle salve on scars.
We contribute to one another, in deeply unknowable ways, in penetrating, profound ways.
I am so grateful for the ones I have known and loved. I am so eternally grateful. And I miss you, the ones I never got to really know and love. And I am sorry I changed my mind and pulled out of our plan. I hope you forgive me.
From the bottom of my heart and my deepest scars,