If you haven’t read part 1, you can find it here.
I was accepted to the UT MBA program (hook ‘em horns!) with a large scholarship. I grew up loving Longhorn football and all things UT, so this was very exciting.
I left my job pretty much right away to take some time off before business school. My husband works in IT and his company agreed to let him work remotely, so we decided to move to Wisconsin, where my husband is from, for six months before heading to Austin for school.
My husband’s family has a house on a lake a few hours northwest of Milwaukee and they graciously let us live there for a few months. It was the best.
I fondly refer to this time in my life as my retirement. We moved there at the beginning of February, which provided just enough winter to enchant this Texas girl. I went sledding daily right outside the house. We went for canoe rides where my hands were aching from the cold, but it was worth it to hear the slow drip of melting snow and see the animals deprived of their hiding places with no leaves on the bushes and trees.
We saw countless deer, sandhill cranes almost as tall as I am, foxes, river otters, raccoons, and so much more. It was like my favorite kind of vacation, extended for six months.
I sat on the deck and read. I experimented with cooking. I wrote a book that will likely never be published, but that’s okay; that’s the sort of thing one does in retirement.
I spent hours walking the country roads and thinking. I came to have a favorite cow, a favorite barn. The kind people of Arkdale would stop and ask me if I needed a ride. I guess they thought I was lost. And I sort of was.
As much as I was enjoying my retirement, I began to feel a sense of dread. It started small enough that I didn’t even recognize it. Does that ever happen to you? I often get a funny feeling, a shadow of uneasiness, before I realize what I’m anxious about, or even realize that the anxiety is there.
As the months went by, I started getting emails about orientation and new student trips. All I felt was dread.
Now I am a worrier by nature, so at first I thought this was just a fear of change, a fear of being thrown in with a bunch of new people. But there was no excitement to balance it out, not even a little bit. This was not a good sign.
I began to doubt that I should go to business school, but I felt trapped. I had no other skills, no other plans. I had quit my job, spent a bunch of time and money applying to school, gotten my family excited about it, and moved us across the country. It didn’t seem right to just say “uh, sorry guys, just kidding.”
But it also didn’t seem right to dig myself deeper into a career I knew in my heart wasn’t for me. If I hadn’t had the luxury of those long days to think and reflect and pray, I know I would now be the proud recipient of an MBA, going to an office each day and trying not to question it.
But in those long hours, it just sort of came to me. And it seemed so very obvious. Of course this was what I should do. I had always loved school, loved children, loved Montessori. I had taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School with my mom and loved it. Most importantly, it was something I believed in and knew could make a difference.
It was May by this point though and with schools letting out for summer, I had to act fast. I quickly researched and contacted every Montessori school in Austin I could find. We decided to still move to Austin, as we love the city and it’s near my family in Houston. Plus, you know, Austin rocks.
We flew to Austin to look for apartments and I interviewed at two schools. The first one was just not right and my heart sank a little bit. I really had no backup plan.
I pulled up to the second school, Hawthorne Montessori, and knew immediately it was the kind of place I wanted to be. The first thing I saw was a child peacefully painting at an easel outside among the trees. Peeking through the window of the 3-6 classroom, it reminded me so much of my own wonderful days in an early childhood class. The head of school was wonderful and I tried to remain calmly enthusiastic and not beg for a job.
She took a chance on me and for that I’m forever grateful. I was an assistant in the toddler and 3-6 classroom for a year, took my training and interned, and then taught at this wonderful school.
I look forward to going back to teaching someday, but also feel so lucky to have had this experience before having my son. I learned so much about myself, about children, and about the importance of giving yourself the gift of time to explore this beautiful world and find your place in it, the place that calls to you, the place you’re truly meant to be.