So tomorrow is the first day of school.
Which means, of course, that I will not be able to sleep tonight.
I don't quite know why. It's not like I am new or anything. This will be my eighth first day of school as a teacher. Hard to believe, actually. I began teaching a few weeks after I turned 22. It seems so long ago now...like that girl is a whole different person. I've learned quite a bit about my profession and grown up a lot, so to speak. Thanks Oak Hills High School, for rolling the dice with me, and letting me spend my first year teaching in room 310.
And for that matter, I've had 24 consecutive first days of school. Every August, since I was 5 years old, I have had this night. And every night, I can't sleep.
As a student and now as a teacher, I think I have some of the same emotions. The first day of school marks another year to grow.
To me, it means many different things. All of which are exciting in their own light.
To me, there is nothing more exciting than an empty classroom the day before school starts.
It means another shot at hope and redemption, potential and fear, excitement and anticipation... wonderment and amazement and respect for the responsibility that room holds. I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the chance I have to spend the next 183 days in that room with 130 people that I will meet tomorrow.
It's the closest I can come to putting into words what it feels like right now, 18 days before I do Ironman Wisconsin. I am having a hard time explaining it in words, but this feeling I have for tomorrow is a little like what I'm feeling for my race.
Right now I wonder if I could have done more. I am excited, I am amazed, I am petrified, I am in awe, I am hopeful, I am confident, and I can't believe it's real. I have to trust that it's real.
I have to trust that I'm real.
Today at work, a few teachers were asking me about the race and training. One, who inspired me to do my first marathon, asked me, "But how do you know you can do it, if you've never gone the distance before?"
I told her the truth.
Until I cross that line, until I hear the words, "You are an Ironman," it's still just a dream. So all I can do, is trust that I have the potential and the ability to do what that day demands of me. It's what I ask myself to do every August in this empty classroom.
So I will hope, and I will pray, and I will remain amazed, excited, and petrified for the next 18 days.
And for the 24th consecutive night before school starts, I probably won't get much sleep.