Never In A Million Years…
The older I get, the more I realize that life is full of surprises; wonderful unpredictability, twists and turns that we could never expect. Thank goodness. I find myself especially grateful for outcomes resulting from situations that my younger self would have said, “NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS” to.
My teenage self could not get out of Bryan, Ohio fast enough. I went as far away as I could while keeping in-state tuition- Ohio University in Athens, Ohio (Go Bobcats!). If you draw a diagonal line from the northwest corner to the southeast corner, that was my route. I found my second home in Athens. I still love it and visit when I get the chance. NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS would I be coming back to Bryan. I had my eyes on the big city and all that big city life offered. With graduation approaching, I still had not landed my metropolitan dream teaching job. Time was ticking and my Dear Dad told me over the phone that there was an opening back home for a preschool teacher. He had picked up an application. Initially, I told him I didn’t want the application, but eventually went ahead and filled it out, because, well, I didn’t have anywhere else to go. I got an interview, which was both informal and brief and was offered the job on the spot. I hesitantly took the position with the intention of staying in Bryan for one year, saving some money, then moving to….ATLANTA! That never happened. Instead, I (re)met my husband (who is wonderful), we got married, had two sons and 25 years later, I’m still in the Big B. Thank goodness. It’s been a wonderful place to raise a family and the best part is the close proximity to BOTH sets of grandparents for us and for our boys. My boys have relationships with four incredible grandparents who they get to see on a regular basis. I did not have this growing up and I am so thankful for their bonds.
When I took that first job, I took it on the condition of heading back to college. It was a job in special education and I had no special education degree or interest in that route. My degrees were in regular education only. I would be teaching at an integrated preschool. Again….NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS… But, wow! It didn’t take long for me to realize that children with special needs are pretty amazing. I absolutely loved working with that population and found the work so rewarding and fulfilling. I have so many students over the years that taught me way more than I could have ever taught them. They inspire me to this day with their drive, their fight, and their willingness to keep going even if the cards are not stacked in their favor (side note… my first preschoolers are now 27). And the parents….if you want to see a picture of selfless, unconditional, devoted love, I’ll show you a parent of a child with disabilities. The fact that I was able to be a small part of a collaborative team with these parents and children is one of my life’s greatest blessings.
I decided at the wise age of 7, to become a teacher. I never wavered from that path throughout the years. I spent about 20 years in the classroom and it was incredible. NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS did I dream I would leave, but I did. NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS would I have ever thought I would start my own business, but I did – six months ago. I’m often asked if I miss teaching. It’s a quick response. No. I don’t. Because I am still teaching, just in a different capacity. I’m wired with every fiber in my being to teach and I’m still doing that. I’ve learned so much in these quick six months and I know the learning will continue. I’m a lover of learning (translation – geek) and learning comes in many forms and dimensions. Some learning has been fun and exhilarating. Some learning has been tough. I’ve lost support in places I thought it would always be and I’ve found support in places that have surprised and delighted me. I think that’s the fantastic part. The not knowing, the being open to the possibilities that life has in store for us, the sheer joy of life unraveling in its mysterious ways and finding a path that we couldn’t have planned ourselves.
I’ve never had a blog, or put my writing out there into the world. The vulnerability scares the BLEEP out of me. Will I actually post this??? NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS! 🙂
I’d love to hear about your NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS. Share yours with me in the comments!