It Is a Life Outside of My Own Kids.

I left my children for a week.

Many parents find this time to be “restful” and “fun.” I found it to be anxiety-provoking and challenging. This doesn’t mean I had a bad time on my week-long excursion into the Virgin Islands. It just means I felt like I was doing the entire trip while missing a limb, or something like that.

Leaving the kids means leaving a part of me. It shouldn’t be that way; I know this, because every book I’ve read says that I should have a strong, solid life outside of raising my kids. So I do things – work, play ball, go places with my dog – but having a week away from the kids assured me that I do not do¬†enough¬†away from them.

I can’t count the number of times I thought, “I should work more when I get home.” I was thinking about substitute teaching, and how much more interesting my life has become since I started spending a day or two, every week, teaching a class – or several classes – full of curious elementary school kids. I like being there with them, doing things for them, being a “good sub,” as Shane calls it, and making some new friends. I’ve also learned a lot – about popcorn, and history, and people.

So I came home from my vacation and signed up for an additional four days of substitute teaching. I’m trying two new schools and a special education class, just to be bold.

But it is a life outside of my own kids, and one that I desperately need. Kicking around in foreign sands taught me that things can be incredibly beautiful and exciting on the outside, and my head would still be spinning around missing algebra assignments and course choices and extracurricular middle school activities. I even planned to attend an outdoor track meeting for parents – for a track team that Shane can’t join for another two years.

I have, since, decided to wait on the track meeting.

It worries me that, in a few short years, Dylan – my 24-hour-a-day job – will be doing something other than high school, and that I will be somewhat less necessary to him.

Today, though, thankfully, he wanted me to make his breakfast and lunch for him. And Shane enjoyed the same treatment.

So today, I am still needed here.

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