Why yes, last night, I was all about doing the ugly cry. A cry with sniffles, tears, a crumpled up face that looked nothing short of hideous and Kenny Loggins “Meet Me Half Way” playing in the background.
Yesterday was a tough day for me. After I picked the boys up from school, we ran an errand before basketball practice. I had to stop by the Cedar Rapids Educational Leadership and Support Center (the ELSC for those who like to use acronyms) (and as we all know…every school district likes to use A LOT of acronyms). I had to turn in my letter to the school district stating what my intent for next year would be.
For the past two years, I have been on a personal leave to stay at home to raise our boys. Let me back up…Three years ago, Hubby started traveling more and I had gone back to teaching full-time. (Most of the years of me being a mom, I’ve been teaching part-time. Except for three years ago, when I was working full-time.) It became difficult for me to juggle being the best teacher I could be and being the best mom I could be. So, I went back to part-time teaching mid-year. At the end of that year, I wanted to continue part-time teaching, but at the time I needed to make the decision, I did not have a teacher within our school district who wanted to go part-time with me.
With no available teachers in our district willing to go part-time, Hubby and I decided that I would take a one-year personal leave of absence. Maxim had one year left of preschool and this would be a perfect time to stay home with him, along with helping Nate get to and from practices, etc…
During the first year of me staying home, God moved in my heart and stirred up my writing passion. I began to write. And write. And write. Then, in April of 2014, I worked with my web designer and in May of 2014, I started my blog. This blog.
Well, that one year leave of absence turned into two years. (Cedar Rapids Community School District is the only employer I know of that offers personal leave of absences for up to two years, in certain situations. I can’t say enough great things about this school district.) This year, with Maxim in kindergarten and Nate in fourth grade, I was able to really devote time to my writing while the boys were in school. Being a stay at home mom, blogging on here, and working on writing a book. Busy, but definitely my passions.
All year long, we knew that February would be the DECISION MAKING MONTH. With this approaching, I began to really pray hard about what I should do. Hubby and I talked about it. My family and I talked about it. My bible study gals and I talked about it. And God and I talked about it. And I knew what I had to do. Resign from teaching.
Some may say, “You’ve been out of it for two years. You’ve really been done with teaching.” That’s not true. I wasn’t actually teaching, but I had a safety net. I had a job waiting for me. I knew that I could still get right back into teaching with my seventeen years of seniority. Guaranteed an elementary teaching job. Go back to doing what I’ve LOVED doing. Go back to doing what is comfortable and familiar. What I’ve always known.
But. This little feeling inside me said it was time. Time to go for my dream. Time to push aside everything that felt safe and normal and comfortable. Step into the scary abyss of UKNOWN and UNCERTAINTY and FEAR and fall into the world of DREAMS CAN REALLY HAPPEN. It was time to step out in faith.
With a trembling voice that almost cracked into a full-blown cry, I handed my letter to our executive director of human resources. Reading through my letter, Jill surprisingly said, “Wow. Seventeen years! That’s a long time you’ve been in the district.” We continued to talk about my teaching career, my circumstances and I shared with her about needing to practice what I preached to my students. “To try hard, believe in yourself, and reach for your dreams.” Jill was very kind and after visiting a little more, she wished me well on my future journey.
The boys and I left the ELSC and I did what any sane person would do. After texting Hubby to tell him that I followed through with it, I wrote on Facebook about just making one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make. #Facebookistherapy
Then, I took the boys to Barnes and Nobo (as Maxim calls it) because every writer is always looking for more books to read. And I found the book I was looking for, along with purchasing an Iowa Wildlife guide book for Maxim and a Minecraft book for Nate. Clearly, we all have priorities.
With minutes to spare (hahaha), we left Barnes and Noble. In typical Angela fashion, we made it to Nate’s basketball practice eleven minutes late. (In my defense, the roads in Bowman Woods were VERY icy and slippery. I had no idea that they would still be that bad. Come on, the snow storm was two days ago. And…I thought there would have been more sand down on the slick roads, making it easier for a person who is running late to drive a little faster. But no, that was only wishful thinking.)
Anyway. I started to check Facebook at basketball practice when I read the first two comments friends and family had posted and that’s when I had to stop. The ugly cry was about to come out. So, I pulled out my book and read that instead.
After practice, drive-thru supper, laundry, baths for the boys, and putting them to bed, I sat down with my computer. My mind had been racing all night. My heart was anxious. I finally had time to sit down and comprehend what I had done.
I had a few minutes to let it all soak in. Teaching. Done. Working with staff who were dear friends. Done. Having my own classroom and getting to read my favorite books to students. Done. And that’s when my lip started to quiver. And my mind went straight to Kenny Loggins. Yes. Kenny Loggins. (Earlier, Hubby was watching the 1987 movie “Over the Top” with Sylvester Stallone when Kenny Loggins’ song “Meet Me Half Way” came on.) Because I am musically gifted and appreciate the finer songs of the 80’s, I instantly pulled up the iTunes store and purchased that killer song.
Then, like a moment from high school, I listened to Kenny Loggins sing “Meet Me Half Way” on REPEAT (because I’m sappy like that) and started to read through all of the sweet and thoughtful encouraging words from so many family members and friends. You all. I can’t tell you how much it meant to see the support from you guys. This is by far one of my favorite posts because of you and all of your words of encouragement and your “Like”-ing my post.
Thank you. From this small town girl who has a big dream of being a writer…thank you so much for believing in me and encouraging me. It’s so true. When one steps out in faith, it’s the first step that is always the hardest. But with God and family and friends encouraging me, I can do anything. And so can you. Dream your dream. Then, go get your dream.