Part of being a board member of the New England Association of Teachers of English (NEATE) means spending a couple of Saturdays a year with other English teachers making plans for our upcoming conference and other various responsibilities. Our board is comprised of a range of educators from different levels (high school, community college, four-year colleges), active and retired, and from across New England.
Often, I travel to the meetings with my former colleague. We used to teach together before she made what has turned out to be a fantastic move for her to a different school. As parents of young children, we don’t see each other nearly as much as we’d like. However, we’re able to catch each other up on the latest about our children, muse about teaching, and spend the majority of our time, often, talking about the hard parts of mothering during the time it takes to get to the meeting.
There, in the car, we have the warts and all talk: about how it’s easy to lose yourself in the midst of trying to care for others; about how sometimes all you want is a break from everything and what to do when you can’t get that break; laughs about how we finally extract ourselves and how that feels and musings about why we don’t do that more often.
It’s as though we know we have 31 miles to pack in as much self-care as possible to last us until the next meeting. When she dropped me off after today’s meeting, I told her that I had been looking forward to today all week. Somehow, I knew that once I opened the door, sank into her little silver Civic, and fastened my seat belt, I could exhale, that the commute to the board meeting was, really, the ideal way to set up what is always a productive day doing work that feels important.
One year ago: #sol16 By the Book
Thelma and Louise picture (credit)
This post is part of the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers, who have created a space for writers and teachers of writers to come together. To learn more about this challenge, click here.