It’s not normal for me to leave home and not know what I will find when I return. I never know whether the dishes have been washed this week or if there will be a pile of dirty plates waiting on the sink. I can count on some laundry needing washed and that the floors will need vacuumed. What I don’t worry about is whether my family will be intact and if my kids will be okay when I return. My husband is a good and capable father. He has been the at-home parent for most of the past fifteen years. We raised independent kids- so much so that sometimes they need reminded they are not the adult. My kids are happy to keep in touch during the week with Snapchat or text, as long as I show up on the weekend to spend a few hours on the couch watching Netflix with their heads on my shoulder or feet in my lap. They also expect enough baked goods to see them through the week.
Sometimes they delight in conspiring with their Dad to have a surprise waiting when I get home. One time the washing machine had finally moved from the middle of the kitchen to its rightful laundry space. Occasionally they make a batch of caramel corn and make sure there is a little left for me. Our family has functioned-if not happily, then consistently- this way for years.
This week I am preparing to attend the 2015 NCTE Conference with my Language Arts Methods class. I am excited for the opportunity to go. Really excited. The wealth of knowledge gathered under one roof looks incredible on the schedule. There are so many valuable sessions offered. (How do you choose between Linda Christiansen and Jason Reynolds, though?) I believe the things I learn will be invaluable in my future classroom. Plus, things have happened here at school that make me need a break. NCTE combined with the days off at Thanksgiving should get me through the semester.
Attending this conference means I won’t be home for more than ten days. As excited as I am to go to NCTE, I don’t know what will be waiting for me when I get home. Dirty dishes certainly. Laundry to wash of course. But I’m no longer guaranteed that “the kids are alright.”