okay, I'm going to sleep. I start back teaching fifth grade tomorrow. I still can't get my head into the exact place I should be to prepare for the classroom, but that doesn't feel wrong, or even really bad. I know fifth grade. I taught it for ten years. That's a long time, in my opinion. So we will get through.
I cleaned the kitchen, washed and dried laundry, I got Aiden's lunch box out of the car. I labeled it and Cilly's, I packed their school supplies in their backpacks. I think I picked out clothes for me, and I know the kids know what they are wearing.
I took a shower. I touched the tile on the shower walls. I feel like I should be happy about this new place. I think I am. It just feels so crooked, so confusing and weird and scary and wrong. All because John isn't here. It's a fresh start that quite honestly, I don't really want. Perhaps we need it, but that doesn't change my feelings right now. Bit by bit, we will make it ours. We will unpack and settle in, make memories both good and bad. And I do not have enough words to explain how desperately I hate that John will not ever be a direct part of those memories. Yesterday, while unpacking stuff in the littles' room, I found one of the two John shirts I have that used to be a bit stinky with his body odor. Now, they just smell like him. They still smell like him. When I put them to my face and inhale, I get lost for a moment. Anyway, I found one yesterday and draped it over the side of Cilly's upper bunk. When I came back in the room, the whole small room smelled of him. Sideways smile broken heart pause in my step.
The other strange and messed up thing is that the dogs aren't here. There used to be this underlying panic/rush mode constantly running below every choice I made to do things out of the house because I had to get back to walk them. I don't have to do that now. So many changes in the last year and three months. It's too much to process. It's too much to understand. I imagine I might have to stop trying to understand everything and just do what I know, which is to roll with it all. I just wish I had a happy place...something I could do, somewhere I could go where I could just dance and laugh and play. I found that for a week this summer and it was amazing. I look forward to going back next year, but that seems like too long to wait. And I'm not sure what to do with my need for release and play and laughter in the meantime.
I find that when I'm on my own, I don't smile as much as I have, not even in the last year. I remember 14 years ago, when I was starting my first teaching job, one of the custodians at that school commented on how I smiled a lot...his point was made quickly when he said I wouldn't be smiling that much by the end of the year. It has only taken 14 years for his prediction to come true. But who knows? When I teach, I am the best parts of myself because, no matter what is going on at home or in my heart, the kids deserve nothing less than that. Maybe they will help me find my smile.
I have to go to bed, or I won't be able to get out of the house on time. Send me rest and hope and some secret smiles. I dreamed of John for the tiniest of brief moments last night. I saw him, really really saw him. And it excited and startled me so much, I woke up. Maybe tonight, I will see him again and stay asleep.
And so it goes.