Worst of all was what it was doing to my family. I was fighting with my wife and neglecting my children, who were 6 and 4 at the time. Even when I was home, I couldn’t leave work.
So I quit. We moved to Tucson and the kids started attending a charter school, named Presidio. They liked it and so, after their first year I applied for and got a job teaching high school English there (the school is K-12).
I made about a quarter of the money I did before, but I stressed a lot less and I saw my kids a lot more. We biked to school in the mornings and came home together in the afternoons.
This went on for five years. Eventually even my wife worked there at the school. It was very much a family affair.
But it was time to move on. The kids switched to a larger school with more opportunities and I quit my job to go into social work and focus more on my writing. The hardest part of leaving was my students. Some of them I had taught for five years. I loved them and they had basically become part of my family.
Which brings us to the point of this story.
Every year we throw a party to try and get as many of my old students, and some fellow teachers, together as possible. I want us to reconnect. I want us to stay in touch.
But parties are hard for me. I get really anxious beforehand. I worry that no one will come. I worry that people won’t have fun. I worry…just to worry, I guess. It’s pretty agonizing.
Anyway, last Saturday was our annual party. It went really well and the last guests left at 2:30 (way past this old guy’s bedtime!). I’m only just today feeling normal again.
I guess what I want to say is that no matter how difficult it is to do, it’s important to reach out and try and connect with those people who are important in our lives. Life takes us down different paths and it is all too easy to get swallowed by our lives and lose touch with people we love.
I’m glad I made the effort. I hope I have the courage to do it again next year. And I say to all of you out there who I spent time with during those years, whoever and wherever you are, I love you all and I am a better person for knowing you.