Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Cheers to Lasts

I wasn't sure what kind of picture best fit with
a post about lasts...so I decided on this one of
these two besties on their last field day.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that this semester has felt like one long farewell to childhood. As Hallie prepares to leave elementary school at the end of this week, I find myself experiencing quite a few "lasts" myself, both as a member of Will and Hallie's elementary school's PTO and as an elementary school parent. My last Boosterthon, my last music program, my last holiday party, my last Variety Show, my last fundraiser, my last field trip, my last picnic, my last field day, my last meeting...the list goes on and on.

A few years ago I read an article about how, when it comes to parenting, we often don't realize when we're doing something for the last time. We don't know when we're washing hair or tying shoelaces for the last time that we're washing hair or tying shoelaces for the last time. It isn't until days or weeks or even months have passed that we realize we are no longer handling that task for our children...and that realization, that figurative blow...when it happened to me for the first time (and the second time, and the third time), it sucked the air out of my lungs. I felt just as I remembered feeling when, as a third grader, I fell off the monkey bars and landed on my back. With the wind knocked out of me and my body temporarily in a state of stunned paralysis, I couldn't move, I couldn't breathe, I couldn't cry...I couldn't do anything except panic quietly inside my own head.

As I ponder lasts of all kinds, I find myself wondering: is it better to know when a last is approaching so you can prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the ups and downs that will inevitably accompany the experience? You might feel sadder while experiencing the last, but perhaps you might also feel more appreciative? Or is it better not to know when a last is approaching so you can fully experience and enjoy the last, but then have to deal with the sudden onslaught of complicated and often painful emotions when they hit days/weeks/months later? I have yet to determine the answer to these questions.

I know that on Friday Hallie and I will walk out of Rock Prairie Elementary School for the last time. I know I must prepare for the onslaught of emotions I will undoubtedly feel that day. I just wish I knew if all that knowing will make the transition easier. I guess I'll find out.

I cherish everything I have learned and the wonderful people with whom I have had the opportunity to work throughout these last seven years. I plan to spend a portion of Friday up at school saying goodbye (I also plan to bring tissues), but if I miss you - there's no way I can find, hug, and say thank you to all of the teachers, administrators, staff members, and volunteers with whom I have worked - please know how extraordinarily grateful I am for your impact on our elementary school lives.

Cheers to lasts, and the new beginnings to which they lead.

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