I was a teacher from 1972 until 2008. Every summer, I would relish my time with my family – selfishly – knowing that I had to work – for them – for money – but also for me. I liked the adrenaline that work gave me, the control over my days, my weeks, my years. I liked the kids that I taught and I knew I was good at this thing called teaching.
Every Labour Day Weekend, I would get panicky, thoughtful once again, about joining that Monday to Friday rat race – getting back into the world – accepting the heavy yoke of being that all-knowing, all-doing, all-sacrificing working mom.
I would hang on to that last long weekend – yes, I would go in to school that last week, but I would always stay away on the Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. My family and I would hibernate together, at home one last series of days. It would have taken a crowbar to wedge me away from my family on Labour Day Weekend.
I am now alone, a widow, here in the home built for our family, contemplating the fact that the journey back into that effervescent rhythm of the working world would begin again for most of the province – but not for me. I had wrapped my life around the nucleus of my family and now I was the only one left here – lucky for the kids that they grew up and now have families of their own. They are busy getting ready, as I had done, to enter back into the wonderful motion of the world at work. Lucky them – they all have so much to look forward to and hopefully, as many years as I have had, to enjoy it.
I realized today – on our deck- in the breezeless , perfect air, surrounded by the sound of the pond we built and the beautiful trees and grass we nurtured over the last twenty years – that my aloneness right now probably stems from that all-encompassing dedication to my family and my willingness to follow my husband into his wonderful adventures of piloting, motorcycling, and boating – things I cannot do on my own – things I will probably never do again -because he is no longer here.
Was I a fool to be swept away on the exciting projects provided so conveniently by my oh-so-skilled life mate?
Should I have developed more than a good work ethic and mother conscience?
Should I have tried to do more on the adventurous side of things?
Would any of this change how lonely I am right now?
I felt him with me today in a way that let me touch him, smell him and hear his laugh, his voice. It has been a while since I have allowed myself to reach into that part of my heart, my brain – but I did.
I hate Labour Day.