Saturday afternoon, as I was driving home from the Kansas City airport with my wife beside me and my son in the car seat behind me, I experienced a somewhat familiar sensation. I experienced the sensation you get when you wake up from a terrible dream and slowly come to the realization that it was only a nightmare and that you are laying in the warmth and comfort of your own bed. I had that sensation Saturday afternoon.
It's as if I fell into a nightmare filled sleep on Sunday afternoon, June 26th as I watched my wife and son walk away from me at the Kansas City airport. I was awoken from that nightmare in almost the same spot in the aiport, staring at a mom and boy for a couple seconds before realings, "that's Erin and Dawson" and then holding them and crying with joy. In between those two events was a five week long nightmarish blur of insanely difficult, confusing, frustrating and exhausting days broken only by naps in the middle of the night (rather than a full-night's sleep) and a few hours of light and rest on Saturday afternoons. The common thread of all those days however, being the variation of dull ache to all-out heartache of missing my family. But while driving home my car, with my family, to my house, I awoke to the safety and warmth of the real world again. I turned to Erin and told her everything I just posted above. While I know that my time at the LA institute was more than a terrible dream, I'm glad it's all in the past now. I've survived and I'll NEVER do that again.
On Tuesday begins my actual job as a 5th grade teacher for Goerge Melcher Elementary. I'm about to experience the agonizing ordeal of being a first-year teacher. But I'm ready. Bring it on. I just read a line from War and Peace that fits this new challenge. It was stated by Pierre while recounting his terrible but life-altering experience as a prisoner of war in Napoleon's army. "They say: 'sufferings are misfortunes.' said Pierre. 'But if at once, this minute, I was asked, would I remain what I was before I was taken prisoner, or go through it all again, I should say, for God's sake let me rather be a prisoner and eat horseflesh again. We imagine that as soon as we are torn out of our habitual path all is over, but it is only the beginning of something new and good. As long as there is life, there is happiness. There is a great deal, a great deal before us. That I say to you,' he said, turning to Natasha."