Once upon a time, I was a person, an individual, a being with purpose in life beyond the 2 to 3 huge loads of laundry I do everyday, beyond the massive ironing pile which never seems to get done, beyond the current 6 baskets of laundry waiting to be put away today, but which honestly, probably won't, beyond the endless meals to be cooked and studying useless facts for endless elementary school tests. I truly spent hours going over the Spanish explorers last night and what they discovered with my 10 year old daughter. I can honestly say I've lived a complete life without remembering that Pizzaro conquered the Incas or DeSoto discovered the Mississippi River. Or someone else, who I can't even remember, discovered Texas. How do you discover Texas? There were already Native Americans living there. That's like me going to Hawaii and claiming them for Donnaland! Good visual image, not much substance. I bring this up to Faith, my 10 year old. I immediately regret it, as I can now picture the essay portion of today's test will require interpretation. This might be worse than than that monumental Family Life announcement about poligamy. But I'll save that for another post. I'm confused, yet, I digress. You will need to get used to my digressions if you plan on reading more.
Yesterday I was in one of my clients kitchens, discussing the Yankees. I do this a lot. It puts people at ease. It brings a humanness to my job. I work for the local Board of Education in a NYC suburb, located in nearby NJ. The local real estate agents tell perspective buyers we are only 20 minutes from Manhattan. I wonder if that includes the road being closed to all traffice and a police escort rivalling the one given to Obama. My record is 27 minutes, door to parking garage. But that is not for Manhattan, but to the Bronx, to the Stadium, Yankee Stadium, the only stadium allowed.
My job entails teaching teenagers who can not go to school. Some have broken their legs, ankles, feet and will be back in school when they heal. Some have illnesses such as kidney failure, cancer, Cystic Fibrosis, and I try to help them complete high school. Most are pregnant, out on maternity leave. Some are gang members who have been suspended. I meet these students in their homes. Some have no family, and some do.
Yesterday, as we were discussing Andy Pettitte, little did we know the news was breaking that Andy was going to retire. As I got into my car to drive to my next client, I checked in to twitter. The heartbreak amoung all Yankee fans was evident. My sadness was with them too. Let me say this so there is no doubt, I will miss Andy and wish he was returning in 2011. I feel as bad as the next fan.
But as the day continued, and blogs, columns and articles began appearing, I began to move beyond my saddness and past acceptance to wonderment. My twitter feed of 1000 Yankee fans (OK, I know I should really diversify a little, but....if you are reading this Yankee blog I'm pretty sure you get it and I don't need to explain) were devastated. Some of them were beyond help. Over and over I read "I am in tears", "I am crying", "This is the worst day of my life". Really? No, I mean really? Worst day of your life?
I can't help but be slightly amused as the outpouring of emotion. I empathize and feel saddened too. But people, it's LIFE. It's PRIORITIES! It's things you don't plan on changing your world upside down.
Once upon a time I was a person. I worked in a high school. I was a science teacher, and if I say so myself, I was damn good! The students liked me and I loved them. I was made supervisor of the department. I was young and on track to success. I was married and had a daughter. I came back to work to resume my career. Except it was all different. I no longer had that fire for work. I spent all my time there wishing I was home with my family. The people I worked with were special, fabulous friends, but they weren't family. My family. After Chloe was born, I just never went back. I'm sure it annoyed people. I know my principal was not a happy man. But the truth is, this is my life. I only get one shot at it. And I have to do what I love. Life was happening while I was planning. I needed to jump off the carousel, because the brass ring wasn't just that important anymore.
Andy gave us 16 great years. He missed a lot. He missed first communions, and birthday parties, and school graduations. He missed science fairs, and spring concerts and last day of school parties. He missed seeing his kids play baseball, and first days of schools. He never got to walk a trembling toddler into Kindergarten and try to make them feel loved enough to stay. He missed hugging his kids when they were sad and hugging them when they were happy. He missed sitting on his porch on a warm summer night with his love of 20 something years, just looking at the stars and laughing. Soon his children will start leaving, college, work, life. The circle of life continues. They will start families of their own. I believe Andy deserves the time to be with them, before they are gone.
These are the things that make me cry. Andy has missed so much, and finally it became too much for him to bear. He has decided to spend his time with those he love. His heart isn't in baseball anymore. For years he split his love between home and work. Andy doesn't value money, money is fleeting, love is forever. Andy is being true to himself and his values. He is going to be home! Andy is going to spend time with his family. Where his heart is.
Andy can still pitch. He is able to pitch. He just can't pitch. There comes a time in everybody's life, where its time. I see that in my students when I was at the high school. You can see it when the Seniors know they no longer belong. You can see it in their parents eyes, as they plan for their babies to leave for college. Their childlren's time at home is over, and as sad as that is, ther is joy in knowing their lives are beginning. It's time. And when its time, you know it. Like the last day I walked to my car, carrying my last box from my office. Inside were goodbye notes, and momentos from 18 years of teaching. And as sad as I was that day, It was really one of the happiest. I had the time of my life. And now it was time to start a new life, a new beginning, with those I love.
Stop crying fandom! Rejoice that he is able to do what he wants to do! Many people do not get the opportunity at 38 to say goodbye. His life is fantastic! He has had the time of his life. His circle of joy is being completed! This isn't the worst day in your life. And it sure isn't the worst day in Andy's life either.