Well, guys, this is it: my last week of work before maternity leave starts. It doesn’t really feel real yet, especially because I’ll still be going in next week to turn in some paperwork. But after this week is up, I won’t be teaching any more classes until fall next year. It’s been a nice week so far, but also strange, in a way. It’s a peculiar thing, having to say goodbye. A lot can happen in a year, and who knows if I will get the same students again when I come back. So for now, it’s saying goodbye.
Today, a student asked me what was appropriate to say in situations like this. Then, he jokingly said, “How do you say, ‘Guten Rutsch‘?” That’s the expression Germans exchange on New Year’s Eve, wishing the other person a good transition. The thing is that, literally translated, it means “good slide”, and all I could do was picture the baby sliding out of me. It caught me off guard, because people don’t usually say this in German to an expectant mother, so I laughed really hard at that!
I’ve been there, done that before and know that there is a lot more work involved in getting the baby to slip and slide its way out into the world. But in a way, his expression fits. This marks a new beginning for me. A familiar one, having done it just over two years ago. but also different. I’m transitioning again from work life to just being a mom, turning over a new leaf. I’ve got a “new year” ahead of me. Soon, the new baby will be here. A baby who will only be a baby for a year before transitioning into toddlerhood and Kita and I’m back to work again, this time as a mother of two. It’s going to be quite a change, I’m sure.
People always ask me if Theo knows what’s coming. Even for me, though, it’s highly theoretical. I have no way of truly knowing what it will be like as a mother of two until I’m actually doing it. And for Theo it will be the same. Theo will grow into his role as big brother. Our role as parents will surely expand, as well. We’ll somehow manage. We’ll figure it out. There will surely be bumps along the way as we figure things out, but that’s the same with anything new. And when you have kids, there’s always something new happening. It’s overwhelming sometimes, this job as a parent. But oh so rewarding.
Plus, this baby is a different kid. I can’t expect him or her to be just like Theo was. Our experience may be very different in some ways. In any case, I’m looking forward to it.
And I am also looking forward to enjoying the last few weeks as a family of three. It’s hard to imagine. But soon it will be hard to imagine life without our newest little addition. I guess the most important thing is to stay in the moment as much as possible. Enjoying things as they are and enjoying things as they come. And to trust love, as this graffiti so wonderfully reminded me this morning. Because love will get you through whatever you need.