It’s that time again. Are you ready? Am I? Most definitely not…not today anyway, but I’ll get there. It’s time to begin another school year, to meet new students, to try and be the best teacher I can be. Some years it’s easy, some not so much. And honestly, I’m struggling a wee bit. It has nothing to do with school (except for the getting up early part) and way more to do with the fact that I’m heading off to school alone this year.
For the first time in sixteen years, I have no child starting the school year with me. No babies to pick out new outfits for, no new backpacks, no new tennis shoes. Since Kindergarten, I’ve always taken their pictures on the first day of school and then meticulously put them in their scrapbooks. I’ve always gone school supply shopping for them, picked out snacks, dreaded the homework, and prayed hard for them each day when I passed the high school. This year, it’s just me. And like the big goofball I am, I’m a little sad about it.
Is it possible to be thrilled they’re both going to college at the end of the month and still be sad they’re growing up? Yes, that’s me. And is it unreasonable to ache for your little babies even while you beam at your semi-adult children? If it is, then that’s me too.
Here’s what I figure: I spent sixteen years of my life getting my children through school (and the last three, college), so…is it an unreasonable possibility that I should be finished with school, too? Seems fair to me! And what if I get them both through college? Then that’s the bonus round with a big retirement coming right after it! Right?? Right??
Luckily for me, I’m going to have a room full of little ones to love me when I get to school next week. I know they’ll ease the missing and ease the sadness. That’s such a wonderful perk to my job. Just today, I got hugs from a prior student and a boy I’m having this year. There are not many jobs where hugs find you everywhere you go.
I’m also lucky to live in a county where freedom and faith still find you on a warm Saturday. This morning, people from our community gathered to pray for the upcoming school year. People from all denominations and different parts of the county gathered at the courthouse before heading out to individual schools. It was pretty amazing, and I know I felt blessings all around me. My beloved Mrs. Marsha, the kindest cafeteria worker and person in the world, said, “Did you see the birds and butterflies circling our building while we were walking?” They were there, we weren’t alone… What a wonderful reminder that even when I feel sad and alone as I head off to school, I’m not. I’m not alone at all.