As I saw my husband pull up in front of the Union Theological Seminary – I glanced back to the place where I crashed each of the 5 previous nights, usually completely exhausted ~ physically and mentally. Tears welled up in my eyes, hidden behind my knock-off Ray Bans. I didn’t know if they were tears of joy at seeing my husband who I missed terribly or tears of melancholy, saying goodbye to a place that filled my heart in a different way than my husband could.
As he got out and squeezed me tight, the warmth of his embrace masked the turmoil in my heart. Saying goodbye after a week of learning with hundreds of energized educators was bittersweet. Bittersweet because of the 24 hour stimulation while being separated from home. During the day I learned about my craft, I grew as an educator, and I made lifelong connections. At night I explored museums, beautiful sights, experienced diverse cultures, and I connected to people from all over the world, in the city that never sleeps.
My heart was quiet when I first got in the car. My husband knew. He knew I was happy to be going home but he knew I hated saying goodbye to a place that filled a void. He never tried to talk me through my period of “mourning”, this wasn’t our first rodeo. He just let it whittle away because he knew, the closer I got to home, the closer I got to the familiar sights, the closer I got to my memories of sitting on my porch drinking coffee every morning watching my hummingbirds dart from flower to flower and my family gathering on the porch in their PJs, I would balance out my feelings. Crossing over the George Washington Bridge, I started sharing my experiences. My excitement grew. Merging onto the New Jersey Turnpike, my smile widened. As the car turned onto the final leg of my trip home, balance crept back into my heart. As sights became more familiar, home nestled back into my heart. I knew I‘d never forget about my week in the Big Apple.
Starting immediately, I plan to sneak away on my porch with hummingbirds buzzing around my head to glance at my notes, look at my pictures, reflect and plan for my future because that’s what I do. That is what my teaching cycle is all about. It is entwined with all the other cycles of my life.
As my summer rolls on I will honor my love of learning, my love for my family, my love for my profession and my curiosity of the world. My life cycle flows with this balance all year long. You see, I am a 12-month mother. I am a 12-month wife. I am a 12-month friend. I am a 12-month teacher. I am a 12-month human. I never take a vacation from any of those parts of me. Some parts just come out a little stronger at times but all contribute to balancing me as a whole.
Donna Donner (@DonnaADonner)