Yesterday we said goodbye to the end of an era. The Pea has graduated from middle school; next year she'll be starting high school. 3Po and Jammy have graduated from grade school; next year they'll be starting middle school. We've closed the chapter on the elementary school years.
Saying goodbye to the school that my kids started in is not easy. We've been there for 9 years. Nine years!! I've walked there every school morning for 9 years. 3Po and Jammy were just 2 years old when The Pea started kindergarten. They practically grew up picking her up from class. And when The Pea moved on to middle school, she didn't really have to say goodbye to her elementary school because her brothers were still there.
Grade school has been such a warm and nurturing place, where both the kids and I found a second home. They found friends, and so did I. Middle school isn't like that. The Pea has been going there for 3 years, but it's her school, not mine. And that's just as it should be. Middle schoolers don't want their parents hovering around, volunteering in their classrooms and organizing their class parties. It was easier to take with The Pea, because I still had my boys and my community in grade school. So as much as I celebrate their independence, there's a part of me that's sad that I won't be able to share in their middle and high school experiences as much as I have.
Once school starts again, all 3 of my kids will be biking to and from school. I'll feel lost without my 9-year routine of walking my kids to school in the morning, and picking them up in the afternoon. I won't be able to hang out with parents while volunteering in the classroom or waiting for our kids to come out of class. I have to find a new normal.
The one thing that's keeping me from an emotional breakdown is the fact that I've agreed to stay on as the school's student activities director, for now. No one in the family is ready for mom to return to full time work, so while I'm still lucky enough to call the shots on my daily schedule, I'm setting aside the lunchtime hours to look after the kids and find fun things to do for them. Of course, I'm always open to new opportunities, and if one does come up, then I may need to give this job up, but for now I'm staying where I am.
I'm sure I'll feel twinges of sadness when I look around and realize I can't see my boys out on the field any more, but it makes me happy to know that the other kids at school, as well as their parents and the school staff, are happy that I'm staying. It feels great to know that I'm still a valued part of the community. And I'm happy that I get to keep a connection to the school that I love.
When I told 3Po I'd be staying (for now), he smiled and said, "Good, now I can visit whenever I want and go to all the fun school events!". I think the kids, especially the boys, are a bit relieved that they don't have to say their final goodbyes to the school, at least not yet. They're not the only ones!