Monday, July 20, 2020

Pt. 41 - Last Day of School.

Day 90 - June 12th, 2020

     The last day of school is both somehow and already here. As usual, I've counted down the days alongside the boys, and also feel emotional about its arrival. Not to mention - 90 days at home?!

     When this school year started, I was a wreck. It was for sure unlike any other school year the whole way through, but it started out different for us because my kids were all in full-time school for the first time. It hurt to let them all go. I knew I'd made the right choices for them and they were all headed to safe places, but being all alone for the first time in motherhood made my heart tender. There was no longer anyone to sit in the cart as I picked up groceries, no one to ooh and ahh over the store decorations as each holiday drew near. For ten years, I always had a set of innocent eyes and sweet chubby cheeks to go out into the world with each week, and suddenly I didn't. Being alone hurt. And even morseo, saying goodbye to my kiddos as they stepped into a school system that would keep them until they were new adults - not really "mine" in the same way they once were, poked that tender heart with a sharp stick.

     Eventually, we all adjusted, and I learned to appreciate quick errands, leisurely strolling, and morning yoga classes. But I still missed them all the time and would tell them so when I picked them up each day. I soaked up every break in routine and relished every bit of extra time we were able to be together. I posted a sad photo to Instagram on January 6th, after our holiday break, with some of the caption reading, "...I live for the times when my whole crew is under one roof, with no urgency in our time together, no goodbyes, no striving to just "get through" til we're together again. The flow of life has been SO good the past 16 days...I wish that was our always." Boy, did I get what I asked for or what? The time we've gained to be together, though sometimes hard, has been a gift.

     But I still mourn all of the "should have beens" my kids missed out on this year. The depth of their instruction fell short, sure, but the real losses were the moments. No field trips, no class picnics, no yearbook signing, no moving up ceremonies, no bus wave goodbye on the last day, no last day of school "field trip" celebration. I know those were all bonuses to begin with, and it's just one year (or is it?) but it feels like the start of a radical change that will last their whole lives. Maybe it won't, maybe I'm being dramatic. My mom-heart just wants them to have all that's good and joyful in this life, and lately it feels like the world doesn't have as much of it to offer.

     Being their primary teacher for the last three months has been hard, rewarding, interesting, and uncertain. It feels strange that I have to just hope that I did enough - that my efforts will have kept them on grade level whenever they make it back to a classroom. It feels strange being the one to wrap up their school year and declare them first, fourth, and sixth graders. It feels strange not knowing if they'll even see the inside of a classroom in those grades. It feels strange to kick off summer vacation this afternoon after being home, away from the school routine for 90 days already. It's all just so strange.

     Not all bad, of course. I look on the bright side and honor the benefits all the time. It's just all shrowded in a blanket of uncertainty, and we humans (especially those of us that struggle with anxiety) don't sit with uncertainty well. I can sit with hard things when I know what they are. I have trouble finding rest when I can't see them. I like to dig and unearth and find roots to shout why at, and I've been coming up empty-handed lately. I'm not afraid of the work - it's that it hasn't been fruitful.

     I have a few things to take care of before we get into our day, so I should probably stop ruminating now. I just keep thinking that our calendar actually still had two more weeks of classes on it, and what a weird thing it is to be grateful for the longer break and sad over all the good things that would have happened in those two weeks. That's the real struggle, I think. It's not that things have changed or that disappointments abound - it's that it's been near impossible to orient myself in what's left, even when I think I have.

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