This morning I cried.
I didn’t want to, but I had a hunch I would.
Tears came to my eye as I saw the kids dressed nicely for their last day of school.
Tears came to my eyes as I watched the kids give their teachers their end of year gifts.
Tears came to my eyes as I held my sobbing Kindergartner when she was overwhelmed with emotion as it came time to say goodbye to her beloved teacher.
Tears came to my eyes as that teacher promised us that she’d keep an eye out for Little L next year so she doesn’t “get lost in the crowd” because she’s so well behaved at school.
Tears came to my eyes as I watched the entire school create a ‘tunnel of love’ for the exiting 6th graders.
My hunch was right. Though, to be fair, the tears did more than just come to my eyes as as I held Little L tight while she sobbed, little face tucked into my neck, arms and legs wrapped tightly around me. We had to take a little moment to collect ourselves before we could leave the classroom.
Last year, on the last day of school, I hightailed it off campus, drye eyed and anxious to be gone, to be free of the school and its people.
Today when I look back at our morning and try to compare the two events I find that I really just can’t.
We were in such a bad place last year. So worn down by two cripling years. So disenchanted by the school and its community. So ready to move on and get on with a new version of our lives. I had some misgivings about having the kids home with me all summer, but I had an almost primal need to keep them close, to hunker down for a few months, just us, alone, so we could heal and gather our strength.
And it worked.
Even though I wasn’t quite sure what the school year would bring, by the time August rolled around we were ready to face it with a smile.
It was an amazing year. Little L learned to read, C came out of her shell, both girls thrived in their classrooms, made friends, and grew in every way imaginable.
This morning Little L and I aren’t the only ones who cried. C cried too as we said goodbye to her teacher.
Despite the tears it was a beautiful morning. I left feeling loved and cared for. I left knowing that next year will be just as amazing. There were so many hugs, so many summer playdate plans made, so many gleeful “see you next year!” exchanged.
It’s a good place to be. A better place. I’m glad we’re in it.