This post originally appeared on my tinyletter, Where is my Mind?
I got good news. Out of the blue, I get good news, professional news. My mind immediately starts to spin, and panic sets in: What does it mean for our family? I think about all of the things that will have to happen, have to be dealt with, all the emotions of others to manage, all the questions that I don’t have answers to.
I think about not taking the opportunity. I twist myself into believing that not taking it would be better than taking it.
And then I take a breath. I take a lot of breaths. And I know in my gut and in my heart that I need to say yes.
And, for a day, I am happy. I am proud. No one, not really, yet knows. Outside of my husband, only the people who I know will be unconditionally happy for me. I have never felt like this, or if I have, I don’t remember.
And then I have to tell my kids, who are devastated to have to move again, my daughter on the brink of middle school. My son takes it harder than I thought he would, as none of his friends have iPhones or other devices so they can keep in touch. We reassure them, we hug them, and, yes, we start spoiling them, just a little, but just enough.
And then I have to tell my swimmers. Two of them end up sobbing on my shoulder, and a few of them won’t even look at me at practice. For many of them, they aren’t just loosing a coach, but a best friend in my son. I’m not ready to write more about them, my swimmers, not yet. It’s still too hard.
And then I have to tell my mom, from whom I get my instinct towards worry and doom. I know the announcement will be followed by a lot of questions that I don’t have answers to. But while I can tell she is holding back, she is genuinely proud of me, and I appreciate that she worked hard to let me have my moment.
There is still a lot of uncertainty. My kids don’t do well with uncertainty. And, we’re now into state-mandated testing. It’s my son’s first year of writing them. He is falling apart. He comes home crying, complaining that recess is just an extension of the useless school day. He bursts into tears at practice when I tell him he did a good job because “those words are meaningless, mom, and people just say them to try and motivate us, but really they mean nothing.” He is tired all the time. We are all tired all the time.
I ended up sobbing in my room last night, and my daughter came in to comfort me, telling me to breathe – in for 3, out for 3 – like I do for her, and I say I’m sorry, I’m sorry I didn’t opt them out of the testing, that we’re moving, that there is so much uncertainty, and she calmly looks me in the eyes and tells me that she’s proud of me and that my job is an amazing opportunity and I should be happy.
Today, today is his test. This morning, he refused to talk to me. He refused to make his lunch. I wasn’t sure if I had it in me to deal with it, with him, with everything, today. I breathed. I gave my son a win. I made the rest of his lunch while he made his sandwich. I told him that I loved him and was proud of him no matter how he did on these stupid tests. I told him his dad loved him and was proud of him no mater how he did on his tests. His sister chimed in and said the same. He asked if his sister would make her scrambled eggs for him for breakfast. I played all his favorite songs while he ate, and told him I love him.
I’ve worked so hard this year to get here, where I am right now. Happy. But sometimes happy looks a lot like crying at your desk while writing.