“We will miss you. Greatly.”


The close of one of my students’ farewell notes.

By the time I landed a tutoring gig at a nearby elementary school, I no longer needed the distraction I thought a part-time job might provide. I began looking for “a little something to keep me busy” in November 2016 because the two months following my daughters’ departure for university were… okay but difficult. I told myself that a part-time job would be just the thing. Apart from the election judge assignments, though, I didn’t find anything that met my requirements — a predictable schedule, no weekend hours, and work that I would be delighted to discuss with others — until August 2017. By then, I had already determined how to happily, productively, and meaningfully spend retirement sans any boss but myself, but given the effort I had invested in the search, I read the offer as a sign and accepted.

That was two and a half years ago, and I could, as they say, write a book. By last May, though, I was more than done collecting the material. I planned to advise the program director over the summer, but I spent June helping my daughters plan their relocation, and I spent July and August in Massachusetts. Could I have cobbled together twenty minutes to type up a resignation letter and fifteen to make a phone call? Yeah, but for some reason I didn’t, and two days after I returned to Illinois, I returned to work.

Then, one Friday in September, as I was hurrying to finish some yard work before getting ready to head to school, I injured my knee in a fall that resulted in nearly two weeks off. Three years earlier, not long after my daughters headed to university, I experienced a similarly incapacitating injury to the same knee. It took about six months to heal then, which means I have not yet lost hope over the pain and periodic instability I continue to experience from the more recent injury. Besides, the orthopedist assures me all will be well. Eventually. Still, if the job offer was a sign, it was hard not to read my fall as one, too.

I prepared a letter of resignation to submit in mid-October with the intent of providing up to two months’ notice if they needed that much time to find my replacement. But this happened. And then that. And I didn’t want to add to the director’s list of concerns, so I stayed.

And I stayed.

And I stayed.

Until I realized that I could not stay any longer. Because this and then that had happened in the fall, a substitute had joined the program, and she was interested in a permanent position. Leaving would be… difficult but okay.

So I left.

Before I did, though, I said goodbye. Sure, they will likely forget about me by next Thursday. But last week, they wanted me to know that they would miss me.



Right back at you.

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