The Final Countdown

Partially because it’s in my nature, and partially because of the influence of my friend Kelly, I enjoy creating count-downs to big events. Before my wedding, I knew exactly how many days until the Big Day. I know there are seventeen days left until my due date. And I know that there are seven school days left before I leave my job.

But this time, this countdown isn't necessarily one I’m looking forward to with joy. I’m joyful for the reason—I’m going to be a mom, which has always been my dream job. But I’m fundamentally sad, because I’m leaving the job that has had a major hand in shaping me into the woman I am today.

I’ve devoted seven years of my life to Lakeside Christian School. I taught third grade (!), middle school English, 9th-10th grade English, and middle school and high school girls’ Bible. I grew in my teaching style, my classroom management, and my rapport with students. I was challenged, angered, proud, excited, exhausted, entertained, surprised, annoyed, and delighted, in no particular order.

I’m leaving a job that was different every day. I’m leaving a job where students cared enough to tell me about their lives, share their stories, deliver their jokes, cop their attitudes, and change their minds. I’m leaving a job where co-workers are friends and administration can be trusted. I’m leaving a job where I’ve seen students have “aha” moments and grow academically, spiritually, socially, and physically.

Essentially, I’m leaving all I’ve known for the last seven years. What used to be so unfamiliar and prickly has become home—yes, even here in the swampy Florida heat that I detest so much. It was never Florida that kept me here. It was always God impressing upon my heart that I needed to stay at LCS. LCS has kept me here. LCS was why I got involved in the youth group and met my husband. LCS employed my husband. LCS and my life will always be intertwined in a deeply personal way.

I’ll never forget when I told my students (via a game of hangman) that I was engaged, and a student ran into the hallway, shouting, “SHE GOT BLING!!!” I’ll never forget that some of my students attended my wedding, and their faces will forever be a part of my wedding photos. I’ll never forget their excitement, care, and concern through my pregnancy. How do I extract myself from something that has embedded itself so deeply into me?

I don’t know what this transition will be like. It’s a wonderful blessing that Little Miss Arbia will be born at the beginning of summer break, where it would feel natural to take a break from school anyway. But when school starts back up and I send Mike off to LCS in the morning… how will it feel? I have a feeling my daughter will take up so much of my heart and life that it will be easier than I anticipate. But as of right now, after everything, leaving just kind of makes my heart hurt.

So to all my students, know that it has been a privilege and joy. To my coworkers, it has been an honor. To my administrators, thank you for trusting me and caring for me. To my Lord, thank you for changing me through the lives of these precious people, and thank you for this little person who is forcing me to move on. LCS, you haven’t seen the last of me (I hope)!

xoxo, A