Friday, June 10, 2011

We love birthdays.

This is a big day for me. Not only is it my 59th birthday, it's also my last day of work as a teacher. Twenty-one years. Anyone connected to a school knows that teachers do amazing work. Teachers are responsible for lessons, yes, but also the care and nurturing of the students. The kids come in all shapes, sizes, and conditions. It is exhausting but satisfying work. Anyone connected to a school also knows that the hours between bells are just the stage show; many more hours of creation, revision, and rehearsal are required to support the "student contact hours," and "summers off" is really only enough time to recover and get back up to do it again. Thank every teacher you can find! An explanation of why I decided to retire isn't really necessary, is it?

It's time. We can pay for COBRA insurance until I turn 60 in a year then I can sign up for retired-teacher insurance for both of us. A lot of my fellow teachers assumed that I decided to retire because they thought Bryan must be doing worse. Actually, it's because he's doing so well that I knew I wanted to leave now. We want to go where we want, when we want, and stay until we're ready to leave. We really don't have a bucket list, but there are places we've never been: the Caribbean, Seattle, Maine, Minot.

Erin and Shaun are expecting their third baby in November, so we're thrilled to be able to offer them some extra hands since they'll be out-numbered. I look forward to visiting Eli and Emily at Roberts Elementary School which is between our house and "town." It will be easier for me to spend time with Daddy at Presbyterian Village, attending the monthly luncheons, birthday parties, and other special occasions in addition to just sitting and visiting. I also intend to learn all I can about the tile business so that I can be helpful. Bryan is obviously the tile guru; I want to help with logistics, organizing and finding the stuff he loses!

This morning, my friends at Mann gave a "Bon Voyage" party for Linda Berman, who's retiring too, and me. Dr. Marian Lacey, who was principal at Mann when our kids were there, came. So did Suzi Davis and Stella Hayes. Stella wrote a poem for us. Pat Boykin read "The Road Not Taken." We had a yummy spread of fruit, dips, and little ham biscuits. The cake was crafted by our very own Jamie McKenney (Jamie's Custom Cakes 501-944-3796)and was beautiful. I was given a gift certificate for some spa services :). Lots of people said very nice things; it was a lovely way to leave.

I had already turned in my grades, counted textbooks, cleared the walls and shelves for painters, and given away my desk and everything purple. Today I had the joy of turning in my keys. Let the party begin!