My 10 week summer vacation has begun, and I have no idea what to do with myself. I haven't had a whole summer off since I was a teenager. There are so many things I would like to accomplish in the next two or three months! I'm so glad I kept applying for jobs with the school district; it took three years, but getting this job has changed my life. Summer break feels like the biggest payoff so far.
I actually missed the last three days of school this year. I went in to work the morning after grandma died because I wasn't sure what else to do. As soon as I told someone what had happened, everyone started saying, "Why are you here? You need to go and be with your family." The secretary went ahead and scheduled me for paid days off (bereavement pay) for the rest of the week. I stayed long enough to call a couple of parent volunteers to come help answer phones, and tie up a couple of loose ends, and then I went on home. Of course, I drove to my hometown that afternoon and sat with my dad for a few hours. It's tough to lose your mother.
The funeral was yesterday. My dad and aunt had arranged for a very simple service in the funeral parlor chapel followed by a procession to the cemetery. I had forgotten how a funeral procession still works in a small southern town: there are police escorts on either end, and police at every traffic light and intersection along the way so that all oncoming cars must yield. Most of the cars on the opposite side of the highway leading out of town will pull off the side of the road (or else stop right in the middle of it) out of respect while a funeral passes by. Gregg and I had both forgotten about those customs and marveled that they still exist.
Speaking of my husband, most of my dad's family had never met him before the funeral yesterday. He looked so handsome in his smart dark suit, and his manners were so nice, that I was proud of him. He's been really sweet and supportive during all this, and I feel like a fortunate woman.
Now that the funeral and other family responsibilities are over, I'm trying to wrap my head around the idea that I am off work.....for weeks and weeks! I don't want to waste a single day of savoring this new summer freedom.