Today was my last day of school... Not just for this year, but for next year, too! My emotions have been building for the last several months. It has been incredibly difficult emotionally, as I've packed and prepared for the end of the year. This past school year had many ups and downs, but when I look back on it, I will remember it as one of the best years I've had. My grade level partner, David, had a lot to do with it. We worked together very closely this past year and made a great team. From a teaching perspective, he and I were really in-tune. Yesterday, he organized a surprise goodbye party for me with our two classes. I had no idea (how did they pull that off?!), and was so incredibly moved by everything that he and the kids did for me. The theme was "things for me to do on my year off." Kids chipped in and got my family a zoo membership! In addition, I received a picnic blanket, picnic cooler filled with my favorite snacks, Jamba Juice and Starbucks gift cards, a beautiful arrangement (from the family that tested me the most this year), candles, etc. David also got me a yearbook and had all of our two classes sign it. As a teacher, it's hard to know day in and day out the impact that you have on your students' lives. My confidence was shaken quite a bit this year. Yesterday was one of the most special moments of affirmation that I have ever received as a teacher. I am so grateful to David for giving me that moment to treasure. Already feeling very emotional, I have been a wreck since! I anticipated that today would be hard. Thankfully, I was able to keep myself together (for the most part). The final goodbyes with my kids though brought the waterworks, particularly when some of my girls broke down while giving me hugs. I have decided to be intentional about keeping in touch with those girls. I feel that my connection with them will last beyond our school year. After they left, I gathered up the last of my things. It turned out that not everything fit into my car. I ended up having to ask one of my friends, Michelle, to help me with a load. She kindly folllowed me home with a load so that it'd save me from having to make 2 trips. That pretty much saved me- I was in a rush to leave school because I didn't want to keep her waiting. So, the goodbyes were short and quick. I hate goodbyes... I HATE goodbyes... The minute I started driving, I burst and broke down. I cried pretty much the entire way home. I am overcome with sadness. Part of my emotional rollercoaster has been the anxiety I feel about heading into this unfamiliar territory of being a "stay-at-home-mom." Yes, this was my decision and I am absolutely looking forward to spending more time with my family. I don't doubt how amazing it will be to be 100% focused on my wonderful husband and kids, but the uncertainty of what my year is going to be like, the loss of teaching (and all that entails- something that's innately mine, a huge part of my identity, something that I value so much), the insecurity of not knowing where I will end up the year after, the worry of not meeting my family's needs and expectations... makes me feel so anxious. As I sit here reflecting, tears are flowing and realize that I still have tight knots in my stomach- I feel my anxiety.
Having written that, I am willing to bet that next year at this time, I will probably be writing a post about all of my anxieties and emotions as I grapple with heading back to work... And with that, this chapter of my life comes to an end as a new one begins... PS: We just found out this week that Grace got into A.M. kindergarten!!!