The two biggest topics on my mind lately have been off-limits for my blog. Even though I write anonymously, a large portion of my audience knows me and is aware this is my blog. Therefore if I were to write about certain people and their circumstances, it would be an invasion of privacy. When I’m writing about people who irritate me, this is not a problem. Don’t worry “Mary,” I won’t write about your “little problem” here. But suffice it to say that you should know better at your age (which I would never reveal here, since I have known how important privacy is to you since we were in high school together back in 89).
Anyhoo, as a result of a turn of events I do not entirely understand, my boss reads my blog. Isn’t that a kick in the pants? So, when I started obsessing a few weeks ago about my imminent return to work, I didn’t feel like I could write about it. I’m no master of etiquette, but I do know that it is a major faux pas for your employer to find out about your career plans on your blog.
Lately I’ve been counting down the days until my maternity leave ends. I have zero dread about the job and I hungrily devour news and gossip whenever I get the chance to talk to my coworkers. I miss being in front of students. I follow the Republican debates and ache for the chance to discuss them with my AP Language Class for our unit on rhetoric. By the time I get back in the classroom, we will be close to the 2012 election and that is the best time to teach rhetoric and composition.
What I dread is not the resumption of my work, it’s the end of my maternity leave. I do not want to leave my baby in day care at seven months old. Before I completely alienate the women who left their far younger babies in day care, allow me to say that I know I am privileged. I exist in gratitude of my luck every day. Never more than when I hear my husband’s car pull out of the driveway at 6:30 a.m. while I am either sitting on my couch with a cup of coffee smiling at my nursing infant, or snuggled up in bed between my two girls. Viva senses the absence of her dad when he gets up in the morning and she sleepcrawls across the bed to fill the gap. Sometimes Pringles wakes up around 3 or 4 and we are up for one to two hours before going back to bed (if you long for when your babies were small, I’ll bet that snapped you out of it!). When she does, we are usually asleep in bed at 6:30. Otherwise, she tends to wake me for the day around 6, but often as early as 5.
But you see, she wakes me with giggles and grins. Her face tells me she wakes early because she can’t wait to see ME again. That time is so short and precious. When a child is a baby and mother is everything to her. It lasts only a few months. Her big eyes that everyone comments on are always fixed on me. If I am in the room, she looks for me. Once those turning-brown eyes settle on me, her face relaxes and then broadens into a smile. Her grabby little hands reach for me, clutch me, hold me close.
I cannot stand to miss it.
I was a fool to ask for a single semester off. I was thinking about my career. I love having one. I left it for a year to be home with Viva, returned and became unexpectedly pregnant, and then was hesitant to take another year off. I knew my department needed me. I knew my department chairs and principals had faith in me. I worried about money. We would have to spend it all and then start living paycheck to paycheck come the 2012 school year.
And then I look at my child who is growing so fast and I realize that there are more important things than careers and money. So I am asking my school for the rest of the year off. I wish it were up to my principal, because she is very supportive. I’m sure that I’m not THAT irreplaceable or invaluable. To my baby daughter, there is no substitute who can do my job.
The board can say no. I am prepared for them to say no. One of three things can happen: I get my leave of absence and return to my position at the same school in mid-August, I get my leave of absence but lose my position and get a new assignment in mid-August, I get denied my leave of absence and return to my position January 30th. I can live with any of these. I cannot live with being too afraid to ask because I didn’t want to be thought of as a flake.
I’m not just doing it for the naps, but I would miss those too.
Keep your fingers crossed for me.