Today marked the official end to the 2010-2011 school year. Sure, we walked across the stage on Wednesday and handed the kids their "diplomas" and then later watched as they hung out of the windows waving frantically at us yesterday. But it wasn't until today, when we handed in our badges, turned off the lights, and said our final goodbyes to our colleagues that it officially ended.
Our Assistant Principal, an emotional cryer by nature, gave the closing remarks this year. She first began by telling a story of growing up in a military community and how she'd cry every time a military family (that she didn't even know) would leave the church she attended. The final farewell.
I started thinking about my own goodbyes. I know that in less than a year, I too will be leaving my home church, family, and friends to take on a new adventure and life. Of course, I cried. Who wouldn't? I have grown up in a small town, attended the same church since I was 14 and even teach at the same elementary school I "graduated" from years ago. Most of what I know and love are in that little town.
Most. Not all. My husband and I have been flying across the United States for the past three years. He has been more than supportive of my decision to stay behind while he continued to train and deploy. He knew I needed my friends and family (and believe it or not- the SANITY of my sometimes INSANE job) to get me through the months we'd spend apart. And it was true. His deployment flew and soon we were used to our monthly flights and the "cram everything you can into one bag and one weekend" routine. But, the time has come for me to finally let go of what's comfortable, jump with both feet into the deep end, and know that if I need rescuing, he'll be there.
I still get choked up thinking about saying goodbye to my friends and family. It's hard to imagine my life without them (and my job). But, I'm reminded by my MAT friend that you should "make new friends, but keep the old". So, my new beginning will mark the end of a life I love. I hope some of my "old life" will find its way into my new one.
I mean, look at those in the military past and present. If they can do it, so can I!
**Dedicated to one of my latest care package recipients. She has just moved, away from what she knows, to a new base far from home- ALONE. Her husband is deployed and they are expecting their first child in September. Her e-mails remind me of the struggles, but also of the adventure that lies ahead of me.