When my kids were younger, I often heard people referring to the sacrifices that all parents make for their children. They talked about all that they had given up, what they had lost, what they no longer enjoyed or experienced, caught up as they were in meeting the needs of the little ones in their lives.
I knew what they meant, and I certainly felt my share of frustration as a Momma, but for the most part, I didn’t really mind. In our case, the sacrifices were pretty insignificant (no more pulp in the OJ…..not a big deal!) and were offset by the gift of their kisses. I wasn’t really aware of having sacrificed much in those years of my Momminess.
But now the kids are grown and gone, and I have more time to look at my life, and at myself.
And now I can see that I did sacrifice one thing while trying so hard to be a good Mom. I have worked for 17 years in a school filled with like minded teachers, people whom I like and admire. I have had fun with them, I’ve learned both with and from them. I have laughed with them, cried with them, sometimes fought with them.
But I didn’t hang out with them. I didn’t socialize, other than once a year for an hour or two at the “end of year party”. I wasn’t aware of it back then, because my focus every day was to get home to the kids as fast as I could. I had my school life and my home life, and in my heart and mind they were two distinct worlds.
It is only now as I see the closeness between my colleagues that I am aware of what I missed. They see each other on weekends and in the summer. Their husbands are friends, and their kids play together. They are a wonderful support group for each other, and I find myself mostly on the outside. I know that it is no one’s fault but mine, but it still makes me sad.
In the past two years, since my last chick flew out of the nest, I have tried to forge some links with the other teachers. Some Friday night drinks, dinner out once in a while, even a couple of summer visits. It hasn’t been easy; I’m the old lady in the crowd, and I make no claim that I could keep up or fully fit in. Still, sometimes I feel a little lonely as I see them leaving in groups.
It was a sacrifice that I didn’t feel at the time, and a choice that I would surely make again, but now I can see what I gave up by wanting to be at home.
And here is the part where my smile comes back. I’m slowly realizing that I am a part of the life of my school. I do have some friends! I’m even invited to a couple of weddings, and not because I’m the old aunt that you can’t leave out!
I kinda feel like the cool kids are inviting me to a sleepover.