I am not enjoying the joys or otherwise of Empty Nest Syndrome because my nest is still full. One of my friends when she calls for a chat usually starts with “So how’re things going at Southfork?” Yes – I am the matriarch of a family of six – husband, two grown-up daughters and two teen-aged grandsons. My life is indeed full and albeit hectic, extremely happy. I did not seek employment but when asked to do four months relief at my grandson’s school – I accepted. These four months have stretched to seven and so here I am joyfully carrying on as if 10 years have not passed since my last permanent post! My friends can’t understand it – why take it on they ask incredulously. After all you don’t need to work. You’ve enough on your plate.
What they don’t understand is that its not work exactly. Teaching is not a job – its a calling, and it seems that I have, at least for a while, been recalled! Yes it is physically and emotionally draining and I often wonder at my own sanity – but I’m loving it because at the end of the day when those little girls hug me and say “I love you Ma’m” its all been worthwhile!
Some days fly by with hardly a hitch. Everything goes to plan and its satisfying to tick off – all reading groups heard, all maths groups taught, up to date with Afrikaans and Life Skills and each little girl is progressing at her own special pace. But then there are the days when you doubt you should be let loose on these innocents – unplanned for interruptions upset the flow, a girl vomits (I told Mommy I had a tummy ache but she said she couldn’t take a day off work), a fight breaks out between the best of friends and you can’t go on until you’ve sorted out the conflict, another is tearful for no reason you can fathom until she whispers in your ear that “Daddy isn’t coming back” and its another bit of care that has to be doled out.
How lucky I am to work with such stunning colleagues who are never too busy to give their support, a school counselor who, when she is dropping from exhaustion herself, is still prepared to give me a listening ear and inspire me with her pearls of wisdom. When you gel with your workmates and you all share and care together it makes it all so worthwhile and rewarding. No – I did not seek this out but I am so glad that it found me.