I woke up this morning, and it dawned on me that I do not have to go to work for 10 months. Today -- Sunday -- I do not have to wash my work clothes, go to the grocery store to stock up on ingredients for healthy work lunches and snacks, or ensure that I have everything (prezis, assignments, reading, etc.) in order for tomorrow's lessons.
Instead, today I can take it easy, and tomorrow I can take it easy, and the day after that I can take it easy.
I am so excited to take it easy for the next few weeks before Ruby's arrival!
While I know some women work right up to their due date, that was just not going to happen for me. I am 36+ weeks pregnant, and for the past few weeks, I have been in downright agony while at school.
Teachers do not have the kind of job that allows them to sit down for long periods of time. Part of my job is managing 30 teenagers. It's a joke to think that can be done well (or at all in some circumstances) from a chair. Further, my campus is large and spread out. I have to walk a lot to get from the teachers' office to my three different classrooms -- often while carrying heavy bags full of papers and large books-- and there are stairs that I have no choice but to navigate. Throw in Taiwan's heat and humidity and my school's inability to truly climate control its classrooms, and I was a hot mess.
My back pain left me hobbled by the middle of the day, my feet were purple and swollen, and I was having crazy braxton hicks contractions all day long. I would make it home at the end of the day only to collapse on the couch and not move until bed time.
Suffice it to say, my maternity leave did not come soon enough, but, but, but: it also came too soon.
Most people, when I tell them that I teach middle school, offer me some sort of condolence. I think most adults are allergic to middle schoolers. They find them loud, obnoxious, annoying, etc. Not me though!
I find my students wacky, inquisitive, malleable, and far more decent to be around than most adults.
Some of my favorite units are coming up, and I am sad I won't get to be the one to guide my students through them. Further, I actually enjoy going to class and spending time with them. I will miss talking with them and working with them.
Before I left school on Friday, I was showered with gifts and cards from my kids. My favorite was the Cauldron Cakes (a Harry Potter reference that in reality was just seriously good brownies) some of my 8th grade girls made me along with a handmade card that showed Ruby as a wizard baby. Then there were the huge Taiwanese cards that all of my students signed. Some of the comments made me laugh out loud. I think some of my 8th grade boys think I am going on a 10 month vacation rather than giving birth and then caring for an infant. Boys. Then there were the sweet cards and gifts from my 9th graders who are kids I've worked with for two years in a row.
I didn't need the gifts and the cards, but truthfully it goes to show how thoughtful many of the kids are.
On Friday, I also cleaned out my desk. I have been working at my current school for five years. At the bottom of my desk drawers, I found curriculum I brought with me from America. I have not looked at it once since I put it in the drawer five years ago. After perusing through the binders and folders, I came to the realization that my current job has allowed me to blossom as a teacher in ways I never could have in America. Here, I have so much freedom to develop curriculum that suits my students and my teaching style. I have the freedom to try (and fail). In America, education is so cookie cuter. I could see how much growth I have made over my time here, and it made me feel even more grateful that I get to return to my job in 10 months to continue progressing on.
So while I am ecstatic that I get to sleep in tomorrow, I will also miss my kiddos as first period begins without me and they start one of my favorite units of the entire school year. As they begin a poetry unit, I will likely be playing the Harry Potter Lego game my husband bought for me on his PS4 and washing all of Ruby's clothes and bedding.
We will be heading to the doctor again on Friday. It is very possible that if all is looking well with Ruby's weight, we will schedule my c-section for Saturday May 6th.
That is only 13 days away!
I will be very busy over those 13 days organizing all of the stuff we have been given-- the clothes, blankets, bibs, pacifiers, toys, toiletries, artwork, bottles, wipes, books, etc.
Today, Sean and I realized that the only things we have purchased ourselves for Ruby are six outfits, a car seat, a stroller, a baby carrier, a crib, and a changing table. Everything else piled high in our guest bedroom and our bedroom has been generously gifted to us by friends and family and colleagues, so today I went to the stationary store and bought a million thank you cards to get started on.
So tomorrow, on top of playing Harry Potter Lego and doing many loads of laundry, I will sit down to pound out the many, many thank you cards that are owed to the wonderful people who have supported us along this journey for the past 36+ weeks.
And I will definitely wonder how my kids' introduction to poetry went.