Not a big hair, leather halter top and black lipstick type and no, I don't usually burn a lighter after she performs either. But a rock star nonetheless.
Allow me to explain.
My dearest Tonya is an elementary school music teacher...and a damn good one. Her kids absolutely looooove her. And not in a scandalous Headline News sort of way either. She can connect with those kids ... and they are better students, musicians and little humans because of it. To be fair, so are many of the teachers she works with at her elementary school. No way, no how could I deal with even half of what they put up with daily. From kids digging for gold in their britches to immature outbursts to the incessantly self absorbed, entitled, belligerent and disrespectful little you-know-whats....those educators handle those children with grace and still graduate a few awesome kids...some of them destined to be future leaders.
But I digress.....
Tonya has been absent from her school job since the middle of September. Since Ethan came a knockin' in the middle of the night with little warning, Tonya could not tell her students that she was going to be gone. One day she was there. The next she was confined to a hospital bed. We missed her at home, and her kids at school missed her too.
So fast forward to our very exciting current life....Ethan is among us and healthy and Tonya's paid leave is used up.
Note: there is no such thing as Maternity Leave. There is federally protected time you can be absent from work (Family Medical Leave Act - FMLA) where the employer HAS to return you to your job because you are under 'protected status'. Everybody gets that whether you are having a baby, having a lobotomy or taking care of someone who is. Oh yeah, that time is unpaid...it is just protected status, that's it. So to get paid during that time, one must use Sick Time, Vacation Time, Disability, etc. Again, businesses run this way for a reason, it is just disingenuous and annoying (can you tell?) to imply that pregnant women are out on Maternity Leave, because that is simply not true. Tonya was out on sick leave, personal leave and disability leave....oh, and she happened to have a child during that time.
Oops, there I go digressing again!
So Friday was her first day back to work. I am told that during a school wide assembly - unrelated to Tonya's return - yesterday morning that she entered the gymnasium in full view of the student body. That would be 700 bodies of students. Elementary students. With a loud it-is-Friday-and-I-am-in-a-gym-assembly-with-my-other-sugar-infused-pals mindset. And with an electrified, euphoric and endless screaming, jumping and gyrating maniacal response to seeing their beloved Music Teacher enter the room after being gone so long.
Hanna Montana has nothing on my wife.
Plus my wife turns small kids into better big kids. I think I will go burn my lighter....