Bereft

When you know you are leaving everything that is important, but nobody else can see the importance in what you are leaving.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

am walking up the street from the school I work at to the school that my children attend and I am crying.

I am crying because from 10 minutes ago I don’t work at the school that I worked at any more, and in two weeks time, my children will no longer attend the school that I am walking towards.

I am crying because while my eyes and my ears and my nose tells me I am walking down familiar footpaths, my feet know that the future I am walking towards is strange and unknown and nothing that I ever imagined or planned.

My feet are are not sure that they want to continue, but I am forcing them to.

I will cry on and off for the next four hours: this is as alien to me as the adventure that lies ahead — I am not generally a person who cries in public or near the children or all afternoon.

I will still be crying when J phones full of clear and understandable excitement that we are one very large step nearer to our family of five being reunited.

His excitement will not be reciprocated down the crackly lines of communication and he will ask why. I will explain that I am sad to be leaving my day job and he will express surprise. He will say, “I thought it was just something that fitted with the kids.”

I will wonder why nobody outside of the-job-that-fitted-with-the-kids ever really sat me down to acknowledge how hard it would be to leave it.

I will wonder why barely anybody ever really recognised how the content of and the context in which I worked was fulfilling and important to me.

I will wonder why conversations I have had with people over time suggest that my old ‘successful’ career — successful in terms of profile and pay rises — was harder to leave than this: it was not.

I wonder if people think the life I have committed myself to since we started our family is somehow less worthwhile and less worthy of discussion than had I, say, being ‘Smashing It’.

I carry on walking towards my children’s school. I enjoy seeing the neighbours and the vans and the dogs and the different school uniforms and the lollipop ladies and the workmen and the front gardens and the familiar faces.

I continue with the tears as I recall the blood and the sweat it took to be a part of this welcoming community while exhausted from caring for three small children. I blub when I think of leaving my local friends and family.

I am tired at the thought of the effort it will take to try to recapture a fraction of the sense of belonging that I have finally carved out here: it’s hard raising a family far from where you were raised yourself. I know from experience that it is not impossible, but I also know that it might not be easy.

I wipe my eyes.

I return to my phone conversation with J and acknowledge that I am excited: this is true — I do feel excited and lucky and captivated by the future. But I also feel bereft.

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