For people beholden to the academic calendar, the end of the year is not Dec. 31st, but May 31st. And, just like the end of the calendar year, the end of the academic year is an opportunity to reflect on the successes and failures of the previous year, readjust priorities, and resolve to do better going forward.
In terms of teaching, I had two goals for this past year: teach students some law, and establish meaningful connections with then in the process. Although some of the exams I’ve graded are making me doubt whether I achieved the former (Hel-lo, people! We discussed question #1 in the review session!), the insistence of several students on hugging me as I hooded them at graduation, despite the commands of graduation facilitators (“NO HUGGING ON STAGE!”), assured me of the latter.
My goal for my daughter was simple: raise a happy and healthy child. Well, by all accounts, she’s a bubbly, healthy, little girl. Turns out there were some teeth up in her gums after all, she has learned to sleep through the night, and her tantrums in protest to being placed on the changing table illustrate a strong will (and a healthy does of spunk!). She took her first steps earlier this week, and continues to delight her father and me with her ongoing mastery of the world around her.
But not all aspects of my life have fared so well. I love exercise, and have always found a way to move my body, be it organized sports or African-dance. I have not exercised regularly, however, since my daughter’s birth. I love my career, and although I have excelled at the teaching part, I have not written a new piece of scholarship in almost one year. I love my husband, but with the demands of our newly expanded family, and my insistence on staying home with my daughter during the day (and, thus, working at night), he and I have not had the quality time that is important for a thriving marriage.
And so, in the 3-month grace period that the academic year affords before the start of the New Year in the fall, I will be making some changes. This summer, I’ll be joining the campus Wellness Center, where I will start an exercise program that includes tennis, kickboxing, Tai Chi, and maybe even belly dancing (killing two birds with one stone with that last one!). We are currently on an interview blitz to find a babysitter who can give my husband and me an opportunity for a semi-regular date night! And, finally, my husband will stay home this summer with the baby, so that I can go into the office regularly and begin work on a scholarly piece that, to date, has existed only in my head.
I’m excited about the summer and the changes it will bring, although even positive changes sometimes require hard decisions. To make time for scholarly writing, exercising and dating, other things that I love will have to be put on hold for a while. Accordingly, I will be taking a break from Cocoamamas for the summer.
I hope to return in the fall refreshed, ready to start a new year, and with a newly acquired ability to move my midsection! In the meantime, enjoy your summer; I pray that it will give you an opportunity to reflect, readjust, and resolve to do better going forward.