A few months ago, I ran into a student from my second year of teaching at the mall. As she told me about enrolling in a tribal college to study nursing, I wondered if I would ever experience this in my new profession--running into couples six or seven years after their wedding, having them recognize me, and spend time telling me about their new adventures.
Then a few weeks later, as I was rushing to a lunch meeting at the Alpine, a place that Craig and I occasionally consider for date nights but never make it, I noticed two of my coworkers turning off to the academy where I taught job-readiness classes in the afternoons. I thought, "Haha, suckers. I'm going to lunch at the Alpine." Then I realized that the passenger in the van was Karen, my office mate who had to sub for me when I was gone. That meant that either: a) they hadn't hired a replacement for my position, b) she was still training my replacement, or c) my replacement was already taking a day of leave and she was subbing for him/her. Either way, it also meant that she probably spent her planning period eating lunch or she hadn't eaten lunch at all, and I felt a twinge of guilt spending my afternoon leisurely eating at one of the best restaurants in the Hills followed by a tour of the museum for which we were planning a fundraiser.
In October, The Black Hills experienced one of the worst blizzards on record for the region. I had four weddings scheduled over the weekend. I spent Friday on the phone with brides and grooms making plan b's and c's and Saturday calling them to tell them that those plans would not come into fruition because all of the lodges I work with had lost power. On Saturday afternoon, I got a call from the brother of one of the brides inviting me to the wedding they had planned in less than a day in the town where they had been snowed in. "My mom is pretty fond of you," he said, "She said you really tried to help us out." When I told Craig about it, he said, "See, this job can be pretty rewarding. I know it's not like seeing a kid graduate or get his GED, but we get to put on parties for people and that can be pretty fun."
I haven't decided yet if this is going to be my full-time profession or if it's just my sabbatical, but Craig's right. It can be pretty rewarding (and fun).