Wednesday, May 29, 2019

the close of a chapter: goodbye elementary school

Whoa!  That last day was close to a week ago and life keeps on going, steam rolling over all my best intentions to slow it down, gosh darn it!  So here I am to try to hold the memories tight!

This high school graduation business has been infiltrated into everything lately but there was another graduation also going on last week that was a pretty big deal:
Yep, my BABY graduated from elementary school.
My last.

That school where every one of my five children have graced the hallways for SIXTEEN YEARS STRAIGHT is over for us.  Swallowed up by time and life and fading memories.

Field days and lunch dates in the cafeteria, Fall Festivals with the annual haunted house and bounce houses, toddlers clinging to my legs, and Art Masterpiece and class parties, parent/teacher conferences, field trips with kids bouncing off the school bus walls, science camps, back-to-school-nights.  They are all evaporating from my mother memory.

And I better stop there or I'm going to start bawling.

The funny thing is that although I'm melancholy, I'm also ok.  Ok to be done with that school, "the swamp," that held so many of my babies.  I'm ok to move on.  But dang all that nostalgia!  I'm a mess of emotions right now I tell you!

It was strange to have my last tandem bike ride to elementary school with my baby (and my dog) last Thursday.

We rode first to my friend's house who was hosting their annual driveway end-of-school-donut-breakfast-party, bikes and kids and donuts strewn every which way you looked and excitement hovering in the air.

All these girls who have touched Lucy's life in so many good ways:

Gradually boys have joined into this party, which Lucy is a little huffy about:
Ha!

As we rode to school together, and as I rode home again, the back seat of the bike bumping along empty behind me I got a little lost in thought.  Am I happy about this?  Am I sad?  Is she ready?  Am I?  Do I have regrets over those elementary school years?

Lots of mixed emotions but I think mostly we're both pretty apprehensive about junior high.  We both put on a good face, but we both know it's going to be a whole new ball of wax.

But let's not go there yet.

Let's talk about that last day for the last assembly, my last baby sitting in a packed cafeteria, putting on her smile with her thumb up:

We don't really have a "6th Grade Graduation"...we just have that whole cafeteria filled with kids, excitement and noise so thick you could swim in it, all cheering their hearts out for their school, the sixth graders, the impending release into summer within a couple hours, the homeroom parties and cupcakes awaiting them before that last school bell rang.

And then those sixth graders walk the halls lined with all the younger graders high-fiving them, hand-written "we will miss you!" posters and notes held high, stars in their eyes that some day that will be them on their own "last walk" through those hallways.


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And just for fun, let's take a look at my other graduating girl in those very same hallways doing the very same thing a few years ago that I happened to come across while I was doing her high school slide show:
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My mom arrived to town just in time to join in on all the hoopla, and that other graduating girl picked her up at the airport and came right along with her:
...which, of course, made Lucy's day.

Two parents confused about the emotions rolling around in their hearts right about then:

All these sixth graders were apparently also overcome with emotion, bawling at the thought of leaving their beloved school:
It was so sweet.


And then it was over.  Those kids in Lucy's homeroom sitting criss-cross-applesauce in their empty classroom, emotions swinging all over the place waiting for the end of the end.

And the rest of us, my mom, Grace and I (Dave had already taken off), walked right out the front door.  

Through all those hallways hung with art masterpiece paintings I've taught every grade, I know the background and details about almost every artist, every painting.  Past all those bulletin boards I've helped decorate through the years.  Past all those familiar classrooms mostly filled with unfamiliar teachers by now, so many of our beloved ones moved on to other things, other schools, families, retirement.  Past the front office staff who have helped every one of my kids for all those years and made my first tears of the day prick behind my eyelids as I said goodbye, trying to act like it was no big deal, not wanting to acknowledge the fact that it was the last of all those goodbyes I had offered them.

As we walked out into the sun, that school fading behind me, I wondered if I would ever enter those doors again. 

Oh life!  

So happy for all the knowledge and lessons and goodness my children carry in their hearts and minds because they graced those hallways and the teachers and friends who have filled them for so many years.

Congrats to my baby graduating girl!

4 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Lucy! And hugs for all of you! xo

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  2. We’ll have a huge lump in my throat! Where does time go? I can’t believe how many kids were in that assembly!!
    We have a TINY school K -12 has 185 kids Total!! So when we are done with elementary, we just turn a corner to ‘big lockers ‘ and then high school has their own door lol ��

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congratulations Lucy!!!! Have a great time in Middle School!!! No matter the size of the school, it is still lump in the throat inducing for parents. Another chapter closes and another begins.

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  4. Congrats to Lucy! She has so much pluck! It is really humbling to witness even just through your blog.

    ReplyDelete

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