Thursday, December 22, 2005

33 weeks 3 days: You Can Never Go Back...

I went to spend the day back at my old job yesterday. I arrived around lunchtime and stayed until the buses were arriving at the end of the day. I dropped into different classrooms, chatted with teachers, hung out with some of my old students, ate some junk food, caught up with the principal. It was really nice.

But, the added bonus was that every single person I ran into immediately said, "You are so lucky to be off of work this year." Every. One. The principal. The assistant principals. The nurse. The police officer. The guidance counselors. The custodians. Every. Single. Teacher.

For the past month or so, I have been stressing out that I was not working. It sure would be nice to have had my income this fall, and a paid maternity leave. (I had like 70 days of sick leave, plus the 12 plus 3 personal days I would have earned this year. I could have some really close to leaving in January and being paid until August 2006.) That would have been like $2000 a month income (after taxes) instead of nothing.

But, the reason it is good that everyone at work is miserable is not because i am a sadist. Rather it is because it cemented to me (and to Dyke Two when I told her the story) that some things are more important than the money. And, my health, our son's health, and our collective stress is far better than it would have been had I been working in an environment that is so toxic this year. I mentioned to a bunch of people that I was regreting not working, and they all told me that I probably would have been placed on disability by November. (They know me well, and know that I would have been in the thick of things, taking all the shit to heart and internalizing the strife and tension.) So, I guess it has been worth a $40,000 income this year to have a complication-free pregnancy, and an opportunity to really get ready emotionally for the baby.

Although, when I really think about the money, it would be nice to lift that stress of "providing" for me and the baby off of Dyke Two.


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