Summer. A word that makes every kid’s heart leap and all teachers sigh with relief. It signifies an end to a school year, a break, a rest from the daily grind. Summer when I was a kid seemed endless, with so much to look forward to: long, hot days spent swimming at White Water, screaming gleefully on rides at Frontier City, listening to my dad mow the grass while I read contentedly in my room, driving to Tulsa to visit my grandparents, and playing basketball with my neighborhood friends until it was too dark to see. The list, it seems, could go on forever. My favorite childhood memories are from those carefree summer breaks when the days stretched before me…each one a new possibility.
As a teacher, my outlook on summer has been a bit different. Every year I hear, “Must be nice having two months off,” spoken with a detectable trace of derision. Questions like, “What are you going to do with such a long break?” and “How long do teachers get off again?” are asked with a hint of incredulity. A teacher’s summer is spent a little differently than one might think. Most teachers, including myself, use those months to plan and shop for the upcoming year, actually get some things done around the house, and, oh yeah, work a summer job! The summer days no longer stretch out before me as a sea of memories waiting to be made…they fly by in a state of fast and furious “doing.”
As a non-mother, this summer will be unlike my previous “teacher” summers. I’ve spent the last 2 summers pregnant, full of hope, my mind occupied with what might be. This summer, despite my busy state, I am afraid the days will instead stretch out before me in a sea of memories I may never make. I plan to heap even more responsibility onto myself, in hopes that the days will, indeed, fly by as they have in past summers. A little SWITCH (youth group), maybe some dog training (working towards Koda’s Canine Good Citizenship), even a little baby-sitting. Somehow, I’m not sure if it will be enough to keep my mind off the shower I should be planning and the nursery I should be decorating.
With summer just a week away, the non-mother in me finds myself wishing I could stop time and hold at bay the day the teacher in me has been looking forward to for so long. Summer, that beautiful taste of freedom, suddenly feels too oppressive to face. What will I be doing with my two months off? Whatever it takes.