Commitment

I like to think one of my better qualities is commitment (we’ll leave out some of my worst qualities for the time being!).  When I say I’m going to do something or be somewhere, I’ll try to do everything within my power to make sure it happens.  Have I backed out on things before?  Yeah, sure, but I try not make a habit of it.  Job commitment is no different in my mind:  When I’m hired for a job I always have every intention on staying for what we might refer to as “the long haul.”  At least, that is what  I wish I could do.

Unfortunately, when I married a seminarian I lost the opportunity to commit to any sort of job.  I left a job at a daycare after I got married so my husband could continue his studies.  I got hired at another daycare here and that was an abysmal failure (okay, I’ll admit that was more of my fault than the fault of seminary life).  Now, six months away from the vicarage placement service I’m already talking with the family I nanny for on how my departure will work.  The funny part of all this is that for these three jobs my bosses knew I wasn’t going to stay.  I was hired at the first daycare with my boss fully knowing that I would leave five months later.  I was hired at the second daycare with the director fully knowing how seminary life went.  I was hired at my current job with my bosses fully knowing that I will be going on vicarage with my husband next summer.  They all knew that I would leave and I still feel guilty.

I feel guilty every time I look at my resume and realize that besides my part-time job in college I have yet to put a full year of work at any one place.  I feel guilty when I watch my bosses try to find someone to replace me.  Most of all, I feel guilty when I have to tell the kids that I’m leaving.

Believe me, I’ve been around and around with myself about how kids are resilient and will be just fine after I leave, that another capable and loving adult will take my place and the kids will hardly remember me.  I know that this is for the most part true.  However, I still remember two summers ago watching a little boy cry after I told him I was moving away.  I remember a couple of months ago one of the boys from the daycare sadly inform me after I told him that I would visit that, “Another teacher promised she would visit after she left . . . She’s only visited once.”  And now I see the girl I take care of get a distant look in her eyes when she realizes that I’ll leave this coming summer (I’m not the first sem. wife nanny she’s had and she’s too smart to think that I’ll stay forever).  Some days the memories of the children I’ve worked with over the past two years become more like haunting ghosts, reminders of how the choices I’ve made and the commitment I cannot give affect others beyond my husband and me.

I’m told that this is just part of seminary life and the same experience will happen when leaving vicarage and again when leaving for the first call (and whatever calls will come after that).  Some will even admit that it is very difficult to say good-bye to so many people in just a few years, especially when children are involved.  But when really pursuing the matter, it goes beyond difficult:  It’s heart-breaking. 

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