Tuesday, August 14, 2012

on August 14th, again

Dear Bernadette,

Last night meteors fell across the sky, all those stars crashing through space at the same time, a hundred every hour.  When I was younger my Dad would wait until dark and then drive us over to the bluffs at Makamaw beach to watch the August showers.  I'd squint and focus on one point in the distance until he would say no, not like that, open your eyes to the whole sky, relax them and you'll see.  And then they were everywhere.  In front and over, in my periphery to the left and the right.  I couldn't keep up with counting.  Last night as I lay in bed next to Mike I imagined what was happening above our too-bright-to-see-stars city and thought of you.

We went through photo albums before bed.  Picked out our favorites and talked about you.  Just before we fell asleep Mike asked me what time and I said I thought it happened around noon.  At noon today he will be wrapping up his introduction to the Principal of his new school, doing the job you told him he should pursue over a decade ago.  I know you will be there with him.  You're never far.  And when I stop trying to remember so hard, when I just relax and open my eyes, you are everywhere.

Onward full tilt we go,


Sunday, August 12, 2012

on a happy shift in our world

The apartment was hot on Wednesday night.  The fans in each corner of the livingroom only succeeded in moving stale air around and the curtains didn't budge from their place in front of the open windows.  The day before I had broken out in hives, a new allergy I've developed from sun exposure, and I sat on the couch itching my skin and cursing the small bedroom air conditioner for not being strong enough to cool the whole place.  But I pretended to be calm, pretended to not be bothered, because Mike was at the computer attempting to stave off the meltdown of all meltdowns.

Earlier that day he had received a call from an Assistant Principal at a High School in Brooklyn asking him to come in for an interview the next day.  With less than 24 hours to prepare, he was googling teacher portfolios and interview tips as I was sifting through his lesson plans from his student teaching days to find something compelling and brilliant so there would be no doubt that he should be hired.  We were not excited, we were anxious.  This was the first phone call in nearly 100 applications.  The first shot and it felt like it was happening too fast, like there should be more time to make him into the applicant they wanted.

The next morning Mike drove out to Canarsie and was interviewed by a group of students, then faculty, then the Assistant Principal, and two hours later he called to let me know that it had gone well.  I could hear it in his voice, in his retelling of his interview answers and their comments, I could hear that he had it.  Or at least had a strong chance.  Twenty minutes later he called again to say that while driving home a call had come in from the Assistant Principal asking him to come back to meet with the Principal on Tuesday.  I was ecstatic, told him that was great news, that he had made it to the second round.  He cut me off, "They want me to come in to meet the Principal on Tuesday because I was just offered the job.  I got the job.  I'm a teacher."  And with that I shouted and the tears came.  My closest friend at work burst into my office and hugged me, yelled her congratulations into the phone so Mike could hear her, and after we said goodbye I ran around the 11th floor for a victory lap, stopping only for hugs from managers who knew what this meant for us.  Two years of full time school, then a year of a temporary staff position (making a salary so low it matched his first out of college job a decade earlier), and then all those resumes before the call from Brooklyn that changed everything.

August is hard.  We lost Mike's mom, Mike's dad, and both of my grandfathers in this month.  But we were married in August and now we have this news to help the balance of joy and grief.  I have found myself unable to hold back tears these past few days.  While cleaning the house this morning I stopped and let a cry out into the broom handle.  It feels like a release valve has been opened, like three years of worry and wondering and waiting has built to this and I am finally allowed to let go.

It was worth it, Mike is a teacher.  I have never been so proud.