I’ve been working too hard.

Gee, you are teacher, get over yourself some might say, but I have been.  The campout that I talked about in the previous post has occupied much of my waking time (and some of my sleeping time) because of just the size that it turned into.  While it turned out just fine, going on, that’s my one worry: that it will be just a “campout”, not that time for teachers to connect with students.  But that’s for another post.

Another mind occupyier was the Dairy Youth Classic, a dairy show that was last Sunday.  Why would this be a problem you might ask? Because of all the dang work involved in getting ready! We have four heifers that we show, and in order for that to happen, first, they need a diet. Yes, it’s sound ridiculous (and it is) but to show dairy, you want to be able to to see just how “dairy” they are.  You want to see the bone structures, how they fit and move, and if you have a fat heifer, that doesn’t happen.  Well, then you have to shave them, because again, you need to see those dairy traits and you can’t do that when they are covered with hair.  You’d think shaving four heifers wouldn’t be a big deal, and normally I’d agree with you.  But with campout and the Classic on the same week, suddenly my time to do things got cut WAY short.  So Thursday and Friday I’m away, missing my daughter’s first home swim meet (one of the reasons for this blog) Thursday night.  My youngest daughter and I trimmed on Wednesday and then on Friday when I got home from camping with 78 sixth graders!

Saturday and Sunday are spent at the barn keeping animals clean, watered, and in general good condition.  That in itself can be tiring because of course, it can’t be cool this weekend, all though Sunday wasn’t bad at all. Sunday, they start showing at 8:00 A.M. so we are there by 6:30 A.M. to get animals fed, cleaned up, and ready.  We were home by 1:00 P.M. which is actually pretty good, so my wife and I took a nap and then got back to work.  Our local fair board is having a scrap metal fund raiser so I went out to start loading metal up, and just stopped to watch the herd for a bit.  Our oldest heifer, Tempest, will be going back to farmer this week, the next three, Dandy, Ashia, and Trinity will all show next year, then head back, and our last one, Willa will show for two year, and be done.  doing the math, that moving my oldest daughter to being in the summer of her senior year, our youngest as a future sophomore.

What?? If each get fall calves and maybe another spring calf, suddenly we are starting to push up against graduation for one, being an upper class man for the other.

What?? I’m looking at my life in terms of how old our heifers are and how much time I have left both with them and more importantly my daughters.

Yes, I’m a sap and yes I got a bit misty-eyed because  holy smokes, they just started kindergarten, they were just moving into “Dad’s Hallway”, they were just in my classroom as students.

Anyway, as all this is going through my head, I’m thinking about my wife and daughters.  They are my rock.  We fight like the dickens and are passionate and emotional about many things, but in the end, these are the people who I can lash my boat to when life is rocky.  And I know that I’m their rock to, that steadfast, leveled headed person who may be a bit too cautious, but who will always protect them, regardless.  While I think I work with a tremendous staff, I also think that part of our problem is that we give too much to our job, and not enough to our families.  I know too many in my hallway who will spend hours and hours and hours on classroom materials, and while that’s great for our students, it may not be for our families.  I tweeted with a new follower who talked about how he got out of both coaching and teaching because of the things he was being forced to miss with his own children.  While I’ve really tried to find balance, I think of the swim meet that I missed last week and for some reason it stings a little bit.  I was connected, don’t get me wrong.  With each personal best she swam, she texted me afterwards, but the fact I wasn’t there hurt.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is this: stay true to what’s right in your life.  Many who read this blog are teachers and are fabulous, dynamic, tremendous educators who’ve probably found that balance in their lives.  I can’t say I’ve found that balance, and times too short with my own children to be pulled too many directions.  With the climate we are in, we are expected to give more and more of ourselves: time, emotion, and money.  At what point do we say “stop” and have to pull back?  I can never be a “contract teacher”, I’ll always have papers scattered about the house (much to my wife’s chagrin), be pulling out things at public functions, and have a backpack bigger then some kids.  But yet, I can hear the siren’s call of leaving at 4:00  as my daughters’ are growing up.  How much time do I have left with them before they fly on their own and I’m suddenly driving to school by myself without their company and laughter and piles of stuff?

I’ll keep working on for certain and it will keep me just as conflicted as I am now!  🙂