For Four Days

IMG_0264Dear Maddie and Katie,

I left you for four whole days this past weekend.  I have never been away from you for that long, and oh, how my heart hurt.  I usually wake up to the sight of your bed head and your pajama clad bodies.  Our mornings are usually filled with giggles and your enthusiasm for the day ahead.  Instead, Mommy woke up each morning in a lonely, silent hotel room.  I missed you so very much.

But, what an amazing time Mommy had at the NCTE conference!  I learned so many things about teaching young readers and writers.  I met a lot of people whose work I have admired for a long time.  I got to shake hands with people whose shoulders I stand on every day in the classroom.  I got to talk in a microphone to a whole room full of people about things that matter to me.  I learned, and I came back a better teacher.  I think I finally found my tribe.

Maddie, you talk about wanting to be a “hair-saloner” like your cousin Sara.  Katie, you want to be a “worker, just like Daddy” and “build tall buildings.”   Whether you end up being hair-saloners or workers or teachers or politicians or race car drivers… whatever it is, I hope you love your job with your whole self.   I hope your job excites you and fulfills you in a way that nothing else ever could.   I hope when you’re busy doing whatever it is you will be doing, you feel like you were born to do that thing.  I hope you have an insatiable desire to learn and to keep getting better at whatever it is you are called to do.  Just like Mommy did this weekend, I hope you will find others in your field whose work you admire, and then I hope you will seek those people out and learn from them and with them.  I hope you find your tribe.

Whatever it is you do, I hope someday you will leave the people you love most in the world for four whole days to learn to do it better.  I hope it matters that much to you.

Mommy sure is glad to be home.

I love you,
Mommy

Join in Slice of Life Story writing on Tuesdays!  Add your link at Two Writing Teachers.

Join in Slice of Life Story writing on Tuesdays! Add your link at Two Writing Teachers.

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15 thoughts on “For Four Days

  1. Oh, Dana! Love your perspective on this Slice… wow!

    As I read Slice stories this morning (no school this week), I’m both inspired and saddened as I contemplate my own next steps in Ed. You and the other ‘Framily’ members bring so much joy to your posts about your roles in education and from them, I think back to how much I loved my own role… a long while ago.

    At the same time, I’m saddened at how overwhelmed and disconnected I’ve become as the (stupid, nonsensical) demands continue at an alarming rate. I miss the ‘old days’ in teaching ~ when Reading/Writing Workshop drove my Reading instruction … and my middle and HS students did very well. They loved to learn and we had fun every day. It’s tough to infuse that love of learning anymore, though many of my students will tell you that we DO find it. 🙂 Having to step around the hoops, though…. geez. Exhausting. Challenging. Unrelenting.

    “I hope your job excites you and fulfills you in a way that nothing else ever could. I hope when you’re busy doing whatever it is you will be do, you feel like you were born to do that thing. I hope you have an insatiable desire to learn and to keep getting better at whatever it is you are called to do…..”

    Thank you for bringing a smile to my tired face this morning. You inspire me to continue seeking out my next role in Ed that allows me to continue to feel excited, fulfilled, and feeling that insatiable desire…. I am thankful. I do hope I get to meet fellow Slicers at next year’s NCTE (if not sooner).

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, Maddie, Katie, and Daddy! 🙂

    Robin

  2. Tears are now streaming down my face. I LOVE this…each and every word!! Dana, I’m so grateful you came to NCTE and we got to mee! Maddie & Katie, thank you for lending us your mom for a few days…she sure is great!! Thank you for being such an inspiration to me and someone I can now call a friend! 🙂

  3. Leaving our little ones is so painful, yet you did and I for one am so grateful you chose to. Honestly as hard as it is, it is a good thing for you and your tribe at home. They see this passion you have and the need to find people that matter and to do work that matters. That is huge. As you well know, they see it all. Thank you for being the model for us at NCTE and the model for your daughters. That will ensure more members of the tribe. Love, Julieanne.

  4. I know we talked about this while we waited on that too-long line for muffins on Friday morning. I am so glad you wrote this letter TO your daughters instead of ABOUT your decision. You truly encapsulated what how importance it is to find your niche in life and to love what you do.

  5. “I hope you have an insatiable desire to learn and to keep getting better at whatever it is you are called to do…..” AMEN!

    I do enjoy how you wrote this slice. The intimacy of heart that elevates this from being a simple blog post and more one heart to another. Beautifully done. Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. It is difficult to leave them, but, believe me, they will totally admire you for this choice. My girls who are now 29, 26, and 24 think I’m the best mom ever because I made these choices to be passionate about my profession. None of them are teachers, but they are all hard workers who value the work they do. You are passing on a valuable message to your kids. It was great to meet you and enjoy some fun time together. TWT is an awesome team!

  7. People left you such great messages about this letter, Dana. Definitely keep it and share it with them, definitely know that they will value and admire your passion and commitment to the work that you do. And, thank them for sharing you with all of us! Your shoulders have footprints, as well, my friend.

  8. Special writing for those special girls, Dana. I echo all the words above, am happy you had a marvelous time, and now home, can be thought-filled about your learning, and share much of that learning with your family, too. So glad you had a wonderful time.

  9. This is beautiful, Dana. It was an amazing weekend, and like you, “I learned, and I came back a better teacher.” It was wonderful to meet you and learn from you. As Melanie said, “your shoulders have footprints.” Thanks so much for sharing.

  10. What a beautiful letter, Dana. Leaving is always difficult no matter who we leave. This letter is something your daughters will cherish when they have families of their own and they have to leave them for the first time.

    I am s o glad that as I had the opportunity to meet you and talk with you at dinner Saturday night.

  11. Dana, I echo what you said about finding your tribe. I’m looking to have a continued place in the tribe even in retirement. I loved your presentation about the family writing nights. It was lovely to meet you at NCTE! Oh it is hard to leave those little ones. Such a touching letter to them!

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