Well, I did it! 2 1/2 hours in a classroom of 7 four-year-olds, another 1 1/2 hours with staff. I returned to work at the elementary school where I provide speech services. Granted, it fell far short from a normal day as the schedule was aberrant and I was able to just interact with the kids without needing to plan a lesson and carry it out. Which was a blessing, as just being there for a ‘regular’ afternoon was enough. I took 1/2 of an anti-anxiety medication before I left, which helped alot. Only got significantly teary when running into a particular teacher who had been especially nice about the pregnancy. The change in her face when she saw me was classic. Excitement and delight at my return, then turning to a bit of horror as she remembered, then into sadness and tears as she came for a hug. I’ve never seen a clearer example of the phrase, “Her face fell.”
The kids of course were phased neither by my absence nor my return, interested only in having adult attention. Which is good. No questions about where I’ve been or where my baby is.
Staff was great as well, asking about Brad and I, not hovering or appearing concerned about whether I was going to lose it or not, supportive, upbeat without being ignorant of the situation...couldn’t have gone better, I don’t think. Whew. The staff in the classroom across the hall won’t be there next year, I found out, which is too bad. Their speech therapist, Anna, is a good friend and while she gave birth to her son a couple weeks after our Anna was born (which makes our friendship very bittersweet), I hate to not be close to her at work. She was my ‘go to’ person if things got hairy, and just a good friend to have around in general.
I would say I got my first wave of feeling like it was too much after 2 1/2 hours, right at 3:00 (arrived at 12:30). Wasn’t too bad, but noticed it. Wonder what a regular schedule with regular responsibilities will be like. I heard them all talking about evaluations, difficult parents, reports, meetings and deadlines, and was glad I’d missed all of it. Clear I wouldn’t be able to juggle all that right now, either, so the decision to wait until now to dip my toes back in was a good one.
Another hurdle in progress (3 more days of school with children between now and the end of the year and hopefully a couple of those will be full days, so it’s not over ‘til it’s over.) Still. A marker on the illusory progress chart.