Lunch Bunch

I eat in the teacher’s lounge.
Teachers are probably the only people who really understand the meaning behind that statement. Several of my fellow teachers treat the lounge like some sort of “other world.” A place inhabited by the demons of secondary education.
Not so.
Sure we mona and groan and grip and complain. But more than anything, we laugh. For thirty minutes (an unGodly amount of time to actually eat in!) I lose the teacher me and embrace the real me.
Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I cry. And honestly sometimes I do both.
My friends do too.
The lunch bunch has evolved over time into the birthday girls. Once a month we go out and celebrate birthdays. A little alcohol’s always involved. No boys allowed. Since all our birthdays are late this month we didn’t have anything to celebrate. Fortunately one of the lunch bunch has a mother-in-law she hates. It was her birthday today. We drank and ate and laughed and took turns looking at the MIL’s picture and saying mean things about her.
And then we laughed some more.
And some more.
About half way through I wanted to cry. One of the lunch bunch is moving this summer. She’s this amazing strong woman I admire so much. She credits Al-Anon for helping her find her true self and her inner strength. I’ve never been to Al-Anon but she’s helped me do the same thing for myself.
So often as women we do for others. We take care of our kids, our husbands. We cook and clean and run errands and write the Christmas cards. But we don’t take care of ourselves. Often we lose the ME, the person we were supposed to be.
Writing certainly helps me hold on to a dream, but the lunch bunch, the teacher’s lounge, they keep me sane. It might be the laughter, and I’m sure the alcohol helps some, but the real glue that keeps me together is the friendship and the knowledge that the days I think I can’t do it, they’re there to remind me I can.

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