Today my wife returns to work after eight years as a stay-at-home mom.
For a couple years when Clara was in preschool, Elysha worked part-time as a reading tutor in the school where I work and where she once worked, but for all intents and purposes, she has been home, raising Clara and then Charlie, ever since they were born.
A few weeks ago, Charlie finally entered kindergarten. It was time for her to re-enter the workforce.
About a week after Charlie started school, Elysha was hired to work as a teaching assistant in my school district. Her goal is to become a kindergarten teacher (after more than a decade teaching grades 3 and 5), so she's hoping that a year spent in a kindergarten classroom with an experienced kindergarten teacher will serve her well.
A paid internship of sorts.
It's been a glorious eight years, for both Elysha and me. Though I have often felt envious of my wife for being able to stay home with the kids, I'll always view these years as some of the proudest of my life. Thanks to my tireless work in my many careers, as well as my publishing success and our launch of Speak Up, we have managed to give our children a full time parent during these exceptionally formative years.
It wasn't easy. We made enormous sacrifices. We traveled almost nowhere. Most of our furniture is hand-me-down. Wardrobes declined. Our dreams of home decor were put on hold. We incurred debt that we will now have to eliminate.
But what we received in return for these sacrifices have been more than worth it. Our kids are so well prepared for the challenges ahead of them. They are happy and kind and so filled with curiosity. And as a husband, it's felt so good about being able to make these past eight years possible for Elysha.
We honestly never thought it possible. Sometimes I didn't think it would continue to be possible. Every time, we found a way.
Elysha did not waste a moment of this time with our kids. Our children know every museum in Connecticut like the back of their hands. They can describe every library and bookstore with incredible precision. They are experts on the playground architecture of Connecticut. They have picked every kind of fruit possible, pet every species of farm animal, and attended every outdoor concert available to them. They have sipped hot chocolate and eaten scones in the finest coffee shops in the greater Hartford area. They are masters of the playdate. Their lives are filled with friends both young and old.
All of this is thanks to Elysha. The best mom. The best wife. Soon to be the best teacher once again.
I know this time is bittersweet for my wife. I know this is an incredibly difficult chapter of her life to close.
Our babies are no longer babies.
But I also know that Elysha is excited about the school where she will be teaching. She's thrilled with the teacher who she will be joining. She can't wait to meet the children who she will be helping.
It's hard to end a dream-come-true, and in many ways, that is what these part eight years have been for us. A seemingly impossible dream come true.
For me, the dream-come-true has been Elysha. The smiles, the laughter, the joy, and the love that she has brought to Clara and Charlie. They are good and happy and kind because of the time that they have spent together.
Today will be beautiful and bittersweet for my wife. I understand. But Clara and Charlie and I will forever be grateful to her for all that she has given to us over the past eight years.
There has never been a better mom. Those kindergarteners have no idea how lucky they are.