I feel like I am caught between two worlds. I am jumping across a canyon and am trying not to fall in. You know when one big wave comes in and then as it goes back out, and it smacks into the wave that is coming in? They crash together; the wave coming in overcomes because it has more force at that moment. I feel like I am at the nexus of the two waves crashing into each other. The wave going back out is my present life: it is strong, it is vibrant, it is important, but it has left the shore and is heading back out to sea. The stronger wave is my future: it is strong, it is vibrant, it is important and it has the momentum of the moment.
Leaving my home and all of my friends that I have made over the past 27 years is so very hard. The experience of the day was the two-day process of leaving my school—my five-day-a-week home for 13 years. I love my job. I love my students. I love my fellow staff members.
Today was the students’ last day. I am sure that I received more hugs today than in the past 10 or 20 years put together. (One spontaneous group hug ended up in a crunch on the ground!) I met with every student every week this school year for character education classes. I’m not sure who loved getting together more—me or them. I can only hope that they actually retain some of the lessons we discussed. There were tears, a lot of tears, mostly mine, some from them.
The school held a surprise convocation for me today with a touching video tribute. One little boy with major emotional problems spoke to me on the video. Lately he only needed me to enter the room for him to calm his tantrum and settle back down. He had a difficult time talking to me directly, but in the video he spontaneously said that he loved me. He had to leave the gym before the end of the convocation and later when I went to talk to him and to give him some private time, he acted tough like he didn’t need it. At that moment, I knew that I could never really know or understand the impact that we who work in schools have on our students. We just have to keep trekking forward with faith that we are making a difference in some lives.
After the convocation, the entire school went outside for the next surprise: a flowering tree planted in my honor with a plaque beside it. (When I went out—last—and everyone was in one big circle, I thought we were going to play some big game of Duck Duck Goose!) After this ceremony, I foolishly announced that I was giving hugs and I got mauled. We all fell to the ground together! Teachers then organized a more orderly hugging line. Another last round of hugs as the children got on their buses and headed home. I’ve been a School Social Worker for 20 years. Watching the last buses pull away with my loves on them seemed a bit dreamlike.
Tomorrow, I must say good-bye to my teaching friends, my cohorts, my buddies. Last week, they surprised me with a dinner at a fabulous restaurant. There was cake and cards and plenty of laughter. I don’t know how I’m going to say good-bye tomorrow. I really don’t know.
I’ve been meeting with many of my other friends in small groups for lunch and dinners to say good-bye. It is not easy. I’ll miss everyone so very much. They are all in the wave that enjoyed riding in and resting momentarily on the sand, luxuriating in that suspenseful second before turning around and heading back out to the sea to remix with the ocean once again. They all left their mark in the sand—in my heart.
And it is then that the outgoing wave smashes head-on to the next wave on its way in. When they meet each other they crash and rise up, becoming one for just a moment. That is me—right now. I am going out after a great ride in Indianapolis and I am simultaneously heading to shore with a new energy and vitality. The incoming wave is my future. I have daughters and a granddaughter waiting for me in Oakland. I have a whole cohousing community waiting for me to finally arrive. I’ve been a member for over 2 years and I already love them dearly as I’ve attended the meetings via the internet and met with them in person when I visited. I simply cannot wait to be with them in my new condo, in my new building, in my new community.
So, you see, I’m at that crest point, fluctuating back and forth between sadness and excitement. I’m living in my wonderful past/present and my wonderful future/present at the same time. I often feel overwhelmed and break out in tears. Happy tears, sad tears.
Suffice it to say, life is good. Oh, so good. I am blessed.