Monday was the first time I’ve seen the bottom of our sink for a while. Kevin and I were both off, and we tackled the dishes and laundry with a renewed fervor. As the laundry happily tumbled with detergent, we turned our Star Wars magnet from “dishes have joined the Dark Side” to “clean the dishes are”. When we finished brunch together, we curled up with our little man in bed for an afternoon nap without setting an alarm.
I can say it; I overworked this semester. I haven’t blogged or gone to the gym in a while because quite honestly, I was asleep in all my spare time. Part of it was to finally wipe out the lingering effects cancer had on our finances, and part of it was the keep myself busy from the lingering effects cancer had on my heart. Though it is enjoyable to be an adjunct English professor at the community college, a job for which I have an absolute passion, three nights a week took a toll on our family.
Last week, I sat with one of my students after my night section of English 112 filtered out at 8 P.M., and I prepped for the 40-minute drive home. She was a non-traditional student with a beautiful child of her own and was not doing well in class.
As I sat with her and talked about how she needed to get her work done, something gurgled deep in my gut and spilled out, “Make it worth it. Make this time in this class worth it. You won’t get the hours back with your daughter that you spend here with me, that I spend here with you, so make it all count.”
I had to stop the tears from falling out and my voice from wavering. I thought about all the time I’d lost with my son – those hours in a hospital bed or chair with bags of chemo draining into my body. I still think, daily, about the moments which were viciously ripped from my life from children I will never be able to bear. But as easy as it is to sit in sorrow, I have to make the time I have with the ones I love worth it – right now in this moment of life. It’s easy to let my heart sink, and sometimes I need to feel all of it, but then I have to get back up. The people around me are too precious to take for granted, but they may be someone else’s prayer.
So next semester I will only be teaching two nights a week and spend more time making memories which are a privilege for most. Personally, I will be reclaiming time I spent elsewhere this semester. First, I need to commit to not working more than two nights a week or taking on more responsibilities at the high school. Second, all of the time I have at home should either be family time or set aside to build myself up in faith, physical health, and mental health.
I’m noticing life is less hill and valleys but, at least for me, trying to get to the bottom of the sink without throwing more dirty dishes in it.