I always delete out of fear. Fear that I've been too truthful, said too much, or even not enough. Fear that I'll embarrass myself and family. Fear that I'll hurt someone, unintentionally. Fear that you will know that I was hurt. That I still hurt.
In 2011, I was a stay at home mom. I had been home with the kids for six years, since I had Michael. I loved being at home. We bought 30 acres in our home county, where our parents live, and was making plans to build and move back.
Mikie and I argue about why I applied for a job. Honestly, it doesn't matter anymore.
I applied for a job. I found out two days before school started that I had gotten the job. I rushed around trying to pull resources and materials out of the attic, the basement, and my brain. I registered the kids for a new elementary school. They would be in fourth, second, first, and kindergarten in a new county and we would be out of zone.
For the next three weeks, I would drop them off at 7:10 when the door opened, Mollie in tears, because I was leaving her, in kindergarten.
Then it happened. I received a call from the principal during class one morning. "Mrs Johnson, I'm so sorry but we are overcrowded in one grade level. I've had to let every out of zone parent know that their child can't stay at our school." I was devastated.
Now, what was I going to do? I started running every scenario through my head and decided, in my head, I would just pack my belongings and go back to the house. This wasn't where God wanted me.
One of my principals came to me that afternoon and said, "Don't pack your bags yet. We are working on transferring all of your kids."
I had not even mentioned to anyone about quitting. She's a Mom, she knew what I was thinking.
Mikie worked with all the principals involved at both elementary schools to make it as painless as possible. Two days later, I dropped four kids off at the school they were attending. Later in the morning, Mikie went and picked them up. Not only were my kids upset, many of their new friends and teachers were also.
Mikie took them to their new school, they met the principals, their teachers, and the angels in the front office. To say that this was God's will is an understatement. God was all over this. The blessing that Hillcrest Elementary has been for us...I can't verbalize.
For the rest of the fall semester, I would open the door, the kids would pile out, Mollie would be crying uncontrollably, I would apologize to the principal, then I would drive the 15 minutes to my morning school.
At least once a week I would receive an email, text, Facebook message, about how helpful one of the kids was that day, how Mollie's crying and sitting on Mrs. Alicia's lap was getting shorter each day, how Mattie had caught up and wasn't behind anymore.
Then it happened...the adults cried. A few days after Christmas break, Mollie jumped out of the van, smile on her face, and yelled back, "I love you too Mom." She went straight to breakfast that day, and waved, smiled, and told Mrs. Alicia hi from outside the office.
The next school year, we worried we would be bumped for being out of zone. Every morning, the kids and I passed this old farmhouse with a for sale sign in the yard. Every morning, to prevent 25 minute travel squabbles we would pray.
One morning, Michael prayed for God to give him one of two things. He didn't care which. He prayed for a house in that school zone, so he would never have to worry about not being with his friends and teachers, or a brother, preferably his age through adoption or foster care.
I laughed a little nervous laugh inside and dropped everyone off. No one mentioned Michael's prayer that day. The next morning he repeated his prayer, but asked for that particular farm house, and for weeks after that he prayed. The kids and I never mentioned to Mikie about Michael's prayers.
One November Sunday after church, Mikie mentioned that if we could find a house zoned for Hillcrest he would consider moving. After the kids and I picked our jaw up off the floor we drove him to Liberty Hill. Then we called the realtor.
Fast forward two and half years, remodels take awhile when the house was built in 1912 and you're planning on being there for at least 10 years. You gut it and basically start over.
Mikie spends his day at the Air National Guard base. He spent his every other waking moment at Liberty Hill putting his contractors license to work. This is the third house he has built for us to live in and I think the hardest on our relationship.
Then it happened, maybe the rumors I had heard were true. Maybe, I was just there holding a spot for someone else. The comments that were made, that I hadn't understood began to register in my mind. Maybe, my four kids did take too much of my after school time. Maybe, I really AM a great wife and great mother.
Intent letters were handed out but instead, I received a letter letting me know that I wasn't being rehired after my fourth year there.
I keep fielding the questions, of why I'm no longer there, even a year later. Honestly, I don't know why I wasn't rehired. I wasn't given a reason. I'm not even sure whose decision it was or why I wasn't given the option to resign. Hearsay, and theories aside, it doesn't change where we are today, but it is the reason that our lives are changed.
I sat at Michael's honor's program fifteen minutes after I had been told I wasn't being rehired, trying to keep from crying. I didn't want him to know something was wrong. I kept playing the we've bought a house, we just lost a chunk of our monthly income, I haven't finished paying for summer school trips and camp yet, Mikie's going to deploy in a few months, how are we going to live scenario in my mind.
My heart ached. When they say the heartache of losing a job is like that of losing a loved one, I believe it.
After Michael's honor's program, one of his teachers came to me. She said she had the oddest conversation with Michael that morning. He had told her he wished we would adopt two boys, because we don't do odd numbers, and that I would quit work and stay home.
I couldn't tell her the truth. I just fought the tears and made myself laugh and went back to arguing with God.
On grade card day, we told their teachers. They were in shock and hurt for us. One teacher even went with his wife, to a principal and gave a character reference for me based solely on the behavior and leadership skills of my children. He told me that they, my kids, say alot about me and Mikie.
People, it's God's grace that made my children, who they are today. I am just a woman, a wife, a mom, a teacher, a volunteer, a Christian, doing the best I can to not be a failure. I've proven what a failure I am several times in the past year, by opening my mouth at the wrong time, and hurting others. By wallowing in my own self-pity, anger, and jealousy; by believing Satan's lies that I am not good enough. By having high unspoken expectations for others, and beating them down harder when they don't meet my expectations. By treating others, not how I want to be treated, but how I was treated.
I've apologized. It doesn't make the guilt any easier. It doesn't make being in the same room with them easier. It doesn't help my accountability or integrity in the eyes of those who were there. But all I can do is pray, that they forgive, that others realize sometimes you screw up, and I admit it, I screwed up.
My kids and Mikie have seen me and lived with me when they should have thrown my stuff in the yard and kicked me out. It has made them stronger, more independent, and self-sufficient.
All summer and fall I applied for jobs, teaching jobs, bank teller jobs, grocery store jobs, I had two interviews, courtesy interviews I'm sure, but no hires. I subbed all fall semester.
We moved in August so the kids could stay in zone for school.
Then I received a call, the day after Christmas break, from the principal who told me that first year, not to pack my bags yet. She is now in a different school system in a central office position. The same system I worked in when I decided to become a stay at home mom.
My old job was open again. My first classroom was waiting on me to come back. I applied. I went back. Back to a faculty, many of whom I worked with before, back to music, choir, and drama. Back past the house, we still have for sale, that we moved out of in August, back every morning.
Mikie deployed the first week I worked. The kids were in another county. It was winter, basketball season, music festival prep time, it was hard. I was negligent. The house was/still is a disaster. I put up a front. The one some of you wear, the I make it look easy, but I really just want it to all be over front.
But then it happened something clicked, in my mind and in my heart. This is were God wants me. For this season in my life, this is where I am supposed to be.
Does it make it any easier? Heck, no!
Do I have it all together? Umm, no.
When you say, "I don't know how you do it." I don't know either.
When you offer help and I don't accept...I really do appreciate the offer. I just don't do well letting someone else take on my responsibilities, even if it's just picking my kid up at the house and driving the two blocks to school for basketball camp. I feel like I'm burdening you even if you offer to do it.
I'm a momma. Apparently, I'm supposed to have Momma Guilt for every decision I make in life. I'm torn. Two kids want to change schools, two don't. Two kids want to be at school with their church friends, two kids want to stay where they are, with school friends, and the opportunities they have coming up in the next school year.
I want everyone to be happy, to let them go to school where they want. I'm not sure that's going to happen. It won't be easy if it does. Two different school systems, two different school schedules.
But deep down, we all want to go home. We want to be closer to grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We don't mind moving again, building again, changing schools again, if it's where God wants us.
With that, we are selling both houses. I guess if this house sells first we will move back to the house we moved out of in August. If they both sell, we will move home, and drive to my school, and build a new house, and have horses, and sheep, and fainting goats, and friends over every weekend, from all the places we've lived.
I always thought it would have been cool if Mikie had been active duty and we had moved all over the world. The heartache is real, just moving 30 minutes away. I can't imagine how active duty feels.
I can't imagine what tomorrow holds, let alone the first week of August.
Will you pray for us, with us? Pray that I've not said too much. Pray that we go where God wants us. Pray for the two families that He is preparing to move into these two homes that Mikie has built with his own two hands. Pray for our school decisions for our kids. Pray for my students that I will be a light and make a difference in their lives. Pray for our friends here and there and the new ones we will make. Pray that no matter what, no matter how hard it gets, no matter what Satan throws in our way, that we always put God first, that we show His light, in our lives, in our words and actions, and how we treat others.
|This is the Sunnydale House in White Pine. You can check out the zillow.com posting here.|
|This is the Liberty Hill house. We haven't decided on a price for it yet.|
Disclaimer: I'm horrible at titles. So give me a break or a better title. And if I've offended you, I'm sorry.