About a year ago, I had a choice, a chance, to be a stay at home mom. Excited, the one word I could use to describe the idea, the notion of being able to help shape my children, and leave the guilt of dropping them off at daycare. So I could work, teach. A job, I loved, I worked hard at and took pride in doing. To impact my students’ minds, to help them discover, imagine, and question the world we live in. I loved my coworkers. I worked endless hours to achieve my position at a wonderful school, achieved my Masters, but when offered a chance to spend time with my own kids…

I was elated and terrified.

The thought of leaving behind what I knew, breaking the hearts of my sweet babies, my second children, my students. I would leave a career I’ve dreamt of, but every night, I struggled to be with my family. Constantly reading, teaching myself, grading, and returning e-mails. The job I loved, sucked away the time I spent with my family.

I was out of my element, an Art teacher in Science. Now, don’t get freaked out. I had great mentors. My Science gals, I called them my lifeline, and my love squad tucked in the Library. I had my out of field certification issued, and passed the test to get my certification for teaching middle school Science. To the administrative faculty, I was called the hybrid, because I was damn good at my job. I tackled a class nobody wanted.

I got to make an impact on the students’ others abandoned.

I permanently took a class after two teachers and a sub left. Learned my students had issues. My classes were filled with great students, and I had a class, I could never let my guard down. I taught two different levels of Science, it was overwhelming but invigorating. I had breakdowns, however, I picked myself back up cause I wasn’t a quitter. I wouldn’t give up because I pushed my students hard. I believed in them and that made me believe in myself even more.

Yet, every morning my heart ached.

Dropping my kids off at daycare, I had to watch them cry, beg for me not to leave. It was a great establishment, and we were blessed to have them enrolled there. And the women who watched over my babies like they were their own… but it killed me.

I didn’t add anything to our finances. By the time my paycheck was taxed, I only had a little left over after paying for daycare. My husband was the breadwinner, but what I received money couldn’t compensate: Eyes of wonder, smiles, the thirst to know more, and I got to watch my students grow. I loved my job, though, missed the precious moments of my own children. And then an opportunity came my family’s way.

My husband got a promotion, and we had to move. He needed me, my kids needed me, and so, I did what was needed. What I partially wanted for my sanity, to make my family stronger—even though it broke my heart. It broke the hearts of my students, but I wouldn’t let them weep at my new path in life. I pushed them to keep learning, disregarding their attempts to throw me a farewell party because I didn’t want them to see me cry.

I knew the next step of my journey in life would still be fulfilling. I would shape my own children rather than one hundred and twenty-three young souls.

One hundred and twenty-three students, I agonized over after I left, praying that the next teacher would care for them as I did. To give the ones labeled bad a second chance, and challenge their dispositions.

So, I sit here, looking back at the time I consider precious. I’m thankful to have been given the opportunity to teach others, and now given the chance to guide my own children. Every day is a new journey, surviving this new role called Stay at Home Mom. A role, I was terrified of, but now embrace.

I now sip a sinful cup of sweet tea laced with hardship and selflessness. If given the chance to repeat my decision, I hold fast to the one I made, and continue to enjoy the small moments with my family ‘til a new path in life takes form.

And perhaps, I may one day walk back into the hallowed halls of the educational system, or use a new path in life opening for me to inspire the minds of many others.

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