I received an email this morning from the chair of the online teaching committee informing me that I was going to have to type out every last lecture for the class I was possibly to teach spring semester, and I broke down. Last week, the department chair informed me that there was a strong possibility that the class would not be offered in the spring due to budget constraints, but that I could still plan it, just in case. Mind you, there was no pay that was going to be offered for these hours of planning. With no assurance that I’ll get to teach the class, and with dozens of hours more work than I anticipated (not to mention the 30-hour work weeks I’m still putting in at my other job), I gave up. I couldn’t do it. I wrote to the online chair, and I officially backed out of the class. Part of me–the professional side, the academic, the intellectual that doesn’t give up no matter how hard or tedious a job or how underpaid I may be–is very disappointed in myself. I’ve been crying for nearly two hours about this. I feel like a professional failure.
And then there’s this other side of me–the emotional side, the pregnant woman, the soon-to-be mom of this little boy who is jostling about inside my belly as I type–who knows this is the right decision. You see, people keep asking me if I’m excited, and when asked that, I automatically respond, “Oh, yes!” But the truth is, I have been filled with stress and fear and anxiety about all of the things that have to get done before I can even entertain the prospect of being excited about our son’s arrival. I keep telling myself, “Just meet this next deadline, and then you can get excited.” My heart has been breaking over this. I have wanted this baby for so very long, so to not feel excited–well, that was about the worst thing I could imagine.
So I’m taking this as a lesson in prioritizing, and for me, right now, my family has to come first. There will be other classes to teach in the future–maybe even in the spring. There will be other professional endeavors. But what I won’t have is a second chance at these last few weeks (or days) before our baby arrives. I won’t get back these last few sacred moments with my wife where we’re just a couple. I won’t get another chance at the building excitement, the final preparations, or even the hours just sitting and staring at my belly wondering who this little boy is and will be.
In my heart, I know I have made the right choice. I just need to get my head to follow.