Last night, I watched an episode of the Flintstones. You read that right. I did it. My kids weren’t around either. Yep, just me and Fred, Wilma, Barney, and the gang. A rockin’ Saturday night in my flannel Polar bear PJ’s, tea, and some snacks in ma bed. To be fair, I did ask my kids if they wanted to watch with me. They of course declined, claiming that my “old” cartoon was stupid. Pffft. They don’t even know how cool my prehistoric and beloved classic cartoon is.
Now mind you, this isn’t my regular every Saturday night partay. I do go out on occasion. Sometimes even to grown-up functions and networking events. Sometimes I even talk to people 😉 But if I’m being completely and brutally honest, I am needing some of my childhood back. Being a former kindergarten teacher has me feeling a whole lot of nostalgia for the days I would be setting up my classroom right about now. The fresh name tags with the lingering odour of a black sharpie. The sound of the stapler snapping as we put out-of-the-plastic borders on the walls. And I can’t forget the best part: the nervous/exciting “what will this new year bring “energy feeling teachers get on Labour day. While I don’t miss the stress of the one-hour commute and the politics that drove me to resign in the first place, I do miss hanging out with kids.
Kids are my thing. I have four of my own and I have probably taught over 200 little ones during my career. I have a million Raffi songs stored in my long-term memory. I can quote every line from my fave book, Pinkalicious and if I try hard, I could probably rhyme off some Pete the Cat quotes at will. ‘Cause who doesn’t love white shoes? Pete sure does. Or he did. It’s been awhile and I’m no longer sure that’s the case.
Every day I would get out my dancing shoes and sing along to Just Dance tunes and just be silly. To be honest, I miss being a kid. Being a teacher allowed me that. And looking back, I ‘ve noticed that I’ve forgotten how to have fun. I must have “shaken my sillies” out too hard that last day of work. (It’s a Raffi song, trust me.)
I don’t envy the teachers going back tomorrow. It’s tough job teaching children. And if you are one, I feel you tomorrow as you bravely navigate through the chaotic sea of students who are anxiously waiting to meet you. Their new first day outfits have been carefully chosen and laid out and school lunches are ready to go. I will be cheering you on from my home office. I no longer need to commute (yay!) and didn’t need to buy a new semi-professional wardrobe this year. My new routine, for the first time ever, will include me waving to my kids from the front porch in my PJ’s, smiling away as I sip my tea. And I will feel many things. None of which will include sadness now that I have my house back and my kids are big and independent enough to handle the back to school routine.
I love my entrepreneurial spirit and my goals are in full-forward gear. I get to sit at my laptop all day, check social media, run my programs online, write my book, listen to my cat chirp, and basically do whatever I want. That is a perk to being your own boss. I have so much to be grateful for, too.
This September, I will teach. They’re just grown ups like myself now. And I love ’em. They are supportive and eager to remember everything they already know. No sharpies here. That would ruin my laptop. I still approach my teaching as an important job and I really enjoy the interaction. Occasionally my silly self shows up and we have good laugh. But something is missing in me. There is a missing piece of the Jen puzzle that I am almost desperate to find. I hope it didn’t roll under the love seat. :/
And that is why I feel so called to find my inner child lately. I’ve forgotten how to be me. That little girl who has been neglected for almost a year. Those 28 kids were my daily reminder that its cool to say phrases like, “Wakey wakey eggs and bakey!” or “Woopsydoodle”. It’s weird saying those things to 30-40-year-old adults. They look at me like I have two heads and stuff. And while weird is good, I feel like I’m supposed to be ‘responsible’ and “mature”. Blech. Those aren’t fun things to be all the time. Remember when we couldn’t wait to grow up? I take it back.
That must be why I’m craving those old cartoons and why my entire book talks about 90’s songs in most chapters. My soul is crying for fun and silly over a dull and mundane routine. As adults, we sometimes forget that we were once small children like those 5-year olds I used to teach. Just like the ones who are getting ready for a new school year as we speak. I want to Just Dance. Watch old cartoons. Swing on a swing and feel like I could almost go all the way around the bars. We get too caught up in what other people think of us. I say, people schmeeple. Do it anyway. Don’t grow up. Adulting makes us grow up too fast. Peter Pan would never allow it. Let’s not forget to be silly and we can still dance like nobody’s watchin’. That is exactly what I need these days.
Speaking of Peter Pan, I watched Moana by myself too. And I may have sung along. “You’re Welcome!” 😉