#aunt

aunt

My sister had her baby in the middle of May and I. am. in. love!  My niece is only 6 weeks old and I think I have taken like 800 pictures and videos of her.  I am clearly biased, but she is the sweetest, most beautiful baby ever.  Luckily, my sister only lives 2 miles from me, so I have seen her almost every day since she was born.

My boyfriend has been very stressed out lately with work and has also been struggling with bad depression.  I am so happy that he is very taken with the baby too and is a great uncle to her.  Last week, after a particularly crazy work day for him, he saw the baby at night and was holding her and made a comment that he felt so much less stressed out just watching her sleep in his arms.  It was such a sweet thing to say, but it made me think about the effect that having her around has had on all of us.  I look at this little baby and I just want her to have the best life possible.  I teach The Great Gatsby to my 11th graders and in one scene Daisy says about her young daughter, “I hope she’ll be a fool- that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”  I always thought this was a cruel wish for a mother to make, but now I sort of understand more what Daisy meant.  I certainly want my niece to be very smart and very well-educated, but what Daisy really meant is that she wanted her daughter’s life to be EASY.  I know things will not always be “easy” for my niece, that is unrealistic, but I want things to be better for her than they were for my sister and me growing up.  We suffered through so much trauma and I want my niece to have a wonderful, happy childhood.

A super embarrassing thing about me is that I still suck my thumb.  I am 38 years old.  It is my one true vice and I have done it all my life.  I saw my baby niece put her thumb in her mouth the other day and I was like, “noooooo!”  I know babies do that when they are hungry or for self-soothing, but I don’t want her to have that- or any- bad habit.

It will be amazing to watch her grow and learn and see the person she becomes and I hope to be a very positive influence in her life.  I don’t want her to be afraid of things the way I am.  I want her to be confident and strong…and maybe someday be a teacher (lol!).

It’s so hard to say goodbye…

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My supervisor is retiring at the end of this school year.  I have known him since the beginning of my career, which is about 17 years now.  He is one of the kindest, most genuine, and caring people I have ever known.  My first year teaching I accepted a position to teach 8th grade at a middle school in my school district, even though I had my heart set on teaching high school.  I had just turned 22 years old the month before school started (in retrospect, it was probably a good thing I didn’t start off teaching 17 year olds when I was so young!) Within the first month of the school year, I had already contacted the supervisor at the high school and set up a meeting with him.  When we met, we talked for over two hours.  When I was leaving his office, he told me he was confident that he would be able to transfer me to the high school for the next school year.  I was excited at the prospect, but also learned to love my middle school in the meantime.  In June, he contacted me to inform me that the district had a hiring freeze and no high school positions were being added.  He promised me that he would try again the following year. With mixed emotions, I signed my contract to stay at the middle school.  In August, he called me at home to tell me a teacher unexpectedly retired and her position was mine if I wanted it.  I was so torn, but felt like I could not do that to my middle school administration.  With a heavy heart, I declined the transfer.  I hung up the phone and bawled my eyes out.  I was certain that I ruined my chances to ever be moved to the high school.  To my surprise, he contacted me again in September and said that he would do everything he could to get me to the high school the next year.  Rather than being put off by my rejection, he was impressed that I was dedicated and loyal to the obligation I made.  Sure enough, true to his word, he offered me a position in the spring of that year.  I began my third year of teaching at the high school and I have been there ever since!  I love my job and I owe so much to him.  He is so supportive of the teachers in my department.  He has always encouraged me and built my confidence so much when I was a young teacher.  Every time I see him, he takes a minute to say a kind word, to tell me how special I am and what I gift I have for this profession.  It is hard to believe that I will be starting my 18th year teaching next year without him.  It brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it and I am finding it hard to find a way to thank him that truly shows him how much he has meant to me- as a mentor, a boss and as a man.  It is hard to explain, but growing up with an alcoholic father, I was always looking for male role models.  My paternal grandfather died when I was 12, right around the time my dad started drinking heavily.  I was very close with my maternal grandfather, but he lived far away.  I did not grow up with any uncles.  When I was in college, I dated a guy for a few years and grew very close with his family.  I had a wonderful relationship with his father and actually kept in touch with his parents for years after we broke up.  When I was married, I did not have a good relationship with my father-in-law, as he was a difficult man.  Currently, I have a great relationship with my boyfriend’s dad, which has filled a void in my life.  Unfortunately, he lives several states away and we do not see him often. When I really stop and think about it, I have had very few relationships with positive “father figures”.  My supervisor is the epitome of a family man, always telling us stories about his wife and adult children.  When I was getting divorced, he was incredibly supportive. Now, he takes every opportunity to tell me how glad he is that I am happy and have moved on.  I feel so sad that not only am I losing a wonderful boss, but one of the primary male role models I have ever had in my life.