We've been in the Madison area for ten months. I stopped teaching in Eau Claire at the end of May and we moved into our house on June 1st. Crazy summer ensued and the start of the school year pulled us through the fall. October started to feel a like life was starting to feel "normal". New normal. Like I was starting to miss less and live more. I have the house pretty much in order-- Barrett had a breakdown about living in Waunakee and finally accepted that this is where we are going to stay. Barrett and I got HORRIBLE haircuts to seal the deal. I went to the dentist. We voted. We all became Waunakeeans/Madisonians.
October felt like the surrender month. We stopped fighting the changes and all the differences and surrendered to the move. Everything was falling into place. Everything, except one thing....my studio. I didn't touch it. I didn't go in the room and when I did, it was for 5 or 10 minutes. I'd look through music or books or shoulder rests and I'd come across some art work or note from an old student and I'd start to cry. I miss them so much. I wonder what they're doing with music, school, friends...whatever. I wonder if they auditioned for the Youth Symphony or if they tried an instrument in the band because they didn't have an orchestra. I wonder how their parents are doing. Many of the parents became very close friends and I miss them terribly. I think of them often--I know who liked to take which magazines home or who needed more time to talk because they were at home by themselves with the kiddos and I was the first "adult" they had seen all day besides the cashier at the gas station. I built in extra time if I could to meet everyone where they needed me because I loved them all so much and it was so hard to leave. It still is.
Being home and not teaching, I'm afraid to start teaching again. I'm afraid to start to love new students. I don't know why. I love my students in Eau Claire so much. It felt too hard to lose them and maybe somewhere deep down, I'm worried that I may have to do it again. I don't know if I can bear it. The heartbreak was more than I think I can handle again. Loving families that you're expected to just "leave to another" is too hard. I don't think I realized how much and how deeply I loved them. I didn't realize how much I believe in the process of learning and teaching through love.
A couple weeks ago, an old friend from high school come to visit with his wife and three boys (ages 9, 6, and 3). It was so wonderful to catch up with a good friend and make a new friend. The boys were so sweet. Absolute boys. Wrestling. Airplanes. Legos. Happy sounds. Squeals of laughter and running. I was completely taken by the 3 (he let me know he was almost 4) year old little guy, Andy. He was so charming. The perfect example of a PreTwinkler. Sweet, open, curious, honest. It was the perfect example of what was missing from my life and why I needed to face my studio and all of what was holding me back. I miss having children to teach and to love who aren't my own. Andy was that little boy who was sent to represent possibility.
For two days after Andy's visit, I cried. I cried and cried because I knew I was ready to have families in my life to love and teach again. I cried because I miss teaching. I cried because I miss my families in Eau Claire. I cried because I had to leave. I cried because I guess I didn't cry enough before. I know that I will always miss my students and parents from Eau Claire. They helped make me a better teacher, person, and parent. I love them. I'll always love them, and I'm ready to love more.