It took three trips to load up my car after work today, what with the gorgeous pink orchid, the glass vase of sweet yellow roses, the very appealing bottle of wine, and the fancy box of deliciously scented body lotions; gifts from the families and staff at work. All of this in addition to my usual two-bags-and-a-laptop made leaving a huge production. Glancing at the driver’s seat with my extra clothes and towel- still damp from our preschool’s morning walk to the pool – wrapped carefully around fragile pots and vases, these generous tokens of gratitude were a jarring reminder of every last day of work I’ve ever experienced. And yet it wasn’t my last day of work.
I’m not sure what it was. I mean, clearly it was the last day of the LEEP into Communication preschool for this year, and we all celebrated having a full month off before the kids return in the fall. But I will only be consulting to the program next year on a weekly basis, which is enormously different from working in it three days a week. And so in a way it was my last day – but just of this one part of my job that has taken an incredible amount of my time and energy and simultaneously been one of the highlights of my career thus far.
Perhaps even more overwhelming was the fact that I was driving home to also say good-bye to our wonderful nanny, Carmen, who has cared for our boys three days a week and became a true part of our family over the course of the past two years. With the preschool on break, and Lyle going off to full-day kindergarten in September, there is no need for a caregiver besides me for the next month. And, frankly, with the bulk of my work hours ending for a while, no way to afford one.
These endings were possibly too much for me to even register today. In retrospect, I’d have been wiser to plan them for two different days so that I could have focused my thoughts on one or the other more fully. I think that I will gradually become aware of these changes in the coming days and weeks in ways that are likely to surprise me; today my response is physical and emotional exhaustion.
And what’s next for me? This is a vast question and I am not even sure how to answer it tonight. I am opening myself and my schedule to new possibilities, and there appear to be viable and exciting options. But truly, I have so many distinct thoughts and feelings about these endings I’m experiencing and what my professional and personal future holds that I can’t think or write straight tonight. I sense a lot of blog posts coming on as I sort it all out. In fact, making more time to write, more time for me to just be, is central to the entire plan – insofar as it has been planned. I know that is what I need, and so I choose to believe that the rest will sort itself out even as it feels a bit like riding a roller coaster blindfolded with no hands.
In the meantime, I intend to get a good night’s sleep. I’m very curious to see what tomorrow brings.