Oh boy, this week is going to be tough. It’s taking me by surprise…Andy’s not surprised though. He called it when Lili went to Kindergarten 9 years ago (!)
I was complaining about how institutionalized the school seemed and how it was nothing like our awesome, Buddhist inspired preschool Alaya. Andy said that I would become just as active in this school as I had been at Alaya, that I would make friends, and that I would be boo-hooing when my time at Crest View was over. (A time which felt about one million years away, by the way.) I vehemently denied all of his predictions.
Fast forward to now. Lili is “graduating” from 8th grade and Baby Boy is completing 5th grade, and the time has come…one million years have passed, and it is the end of an era. For almost a decade I have been walking, biking and driving to Crest View. I have volunteered. I have fund-raised. I have combed hair for picture day. I’ve been a room mom. I’ve stuffed Friday Folders. I have made good friends. And last week, when I rode my bike over to Crest View before school to put a ‘thank you’ card in the office for Harlan’s teacher, and the principal was cranking Pink Floyd (who knew?) and the office ladies smiled at me and Lili’s kindergarten teacher from 9 years ago waved to me, I realized I was the world’s biggest liar. I am a wreck! I’m not ready for this!
I already know when I’m sitting at the 8th Grade Award Ceremony (that’s right, she’s getting an award) I will be making that awkward half smile face that signals to my kids that “Mom is trying not to cry but it’s not working because oh Geez, now she’s making these tortured half laugh/half cry sounds…look away and pretend you are not related because now she’s full on crying.” What can I say? I’m a cryer.
Then on Thursday, I will bike over to Lili’s 8th grade graduation and see a lot of kids that I’ve watched grow up since kindergarten walking across the stage looking like young men and women. I will remember the Halloween parties and the play dates and the class field trips when they were so much smaller. And I will cry. And I will be proud of the young lady that Lili has become, even if she is ignoring me because I am crying.
After the graduation, I will head directly over to Crest View for my final ever class party (how could this possibly be?) For 9 years I’ve been doing this. I’ll scoop ice cream and congratulate kiddos. Some of the other parents are in my shoes, this is their final year at this neighborhood school, and I’m guessing there will be tears…
I know the only constant is change. I also know that my kids are each ready for their new, bigger frontiers; I trust them and their journeys. Right now, I’m just saying goodbye to an era that I remember fondly and won’t happen again. There is something poignant and beautiful in being present to a moment you know is impermanent…a stage in life you will never get to do over. I loved living so close to school and being welcomed into the classroom, even if it was just to say ‘hello’ and give a hug. I loved that the teachers knew my kids and kept a close eye out for them. I loved being a mom to an elementary school kid. I already know that Middle School is the dark void re. parental involvement. I’m sure High School is even more so. I am feeling this milestone with a mixture of heavy heart and gratitude for getting this far. Grateful for the teachers and families that have been part of the ride. Thank you.