Change is Good, Right? by Sharon O’Donnell
Well after 22 years of raising my sons, doing part-time writing residencies, and doing freelance writing and PR work from my house, I’m going back to a full-time, ‘regular’ job. I simply thought it was time to do so. I was tired of spending so much time alone with my computer and missed the interaction with others on a daily basis. With my two oldest sons in college and my youngest in 7th grade, I felt it was an appropriate time to step back into the regular work force. Also, after spending 2010 -2012 dealing with my middle son’s anxiety issues (actually pretty much consumed by them), I finally felt he was at a place where I could step back and not worry so much, a point where there were no longer constant doctors’ visits and meetings with teachers and coaches or my never-ending Internet searches trying to find answers for him. Now, it kind of felt like I am getting my life back. It’s hard to explain to a parent who has never had a child with severe anxiety (which I’ve written about before on this site) how it feels or what happens, but the child becomes your number one priority, and when he/she is suffering, your heart breaks. Your every thought and action have to do with helping him. So part of taking this job is also about setting those all-encompassing feelings aside. My middle son is a sophomore in college and doing well. Of course, I will still be struggling to help my 7th grader get through 7th grade math!
I’m taking a job as a Teacher Assistant because I miss teaching children the way I did in my writing residencies in which I taught narrative writing in various schools part time for 10 years. This job also is at a year-round elementary school, and my 7th grader is at a year-round middle school, and we are on the same track schedule. This means when he is off, so am I! I will still be able to take him places or maybe go on a vacation during our weeks of track-out. It is rare to have just the right position like this come up, so I knew I should grab it. I was also interviewing for a part-time job doing some presentations for an educational group, but I decided to bow out of consideration for that because I knew that the TA position was one for me. I will be working with 4th graders, which is the age of kids I worked with most of the time in my writing residencies. Usually, schools only have assistants through 3rd grade, but this principal uses them in the older grades, too. Again, I’m lucky to have this work out this way. I’ll even be able to do some of the same writing lessons as a TA that I did as a writer-in-residence.
But I have told my husband, who is self-employed (but does travel for work sometimes), that he would now be responsible for all those orthodontist, dentist, doctor, and allergy shot appointments and for all those saxophone lessons and baseball practices, after-school tutoring,etc. that I usually arrange. He is not known for his good memory, so this should be interesting. I will have to put it all on the calendar for him, and then see what happens. I start my job on Wednesday. This means I can’t stay up until 1 a.m. writing anymore because going back to sleep between 7 and 8 (as I sometimes do after my son leaves for school) is not an option. And my husband will have to come home in the middle of the day to let the dog out. And if he’s traveling out of town . . . well, I guess we’ll cross the bridge when we get to it.
.Change is good, right?