Friday, May 18, 2012

and so it ends...


 Today is the last day of school.  Today is my last day in this place I have called home for eleven years.  As I head to Thomas today, my heart aches.  And it breaks again.  I thought it couldn't hurt more, but it does.  If you haven't been here, you can't really understand what is ending, I know.  This is as close as I can get to explaining it.  Here's what I wrote for the last page of our yearbook. 

John Thomas Elementary.  Thomas.  This school, where we spend most of our waking hours, is a magical place that defies description. If you haven't been a part of it, you absolutely won't believe it is true.  But, it is.  We all know it like we know our own name.

It's just an old building, you might say.  It's been cobbled together over the years, like a crazy quilt your grandma made. It's not beautiful, not fancy, not noteworthy.  The teachers are just normal people, teachers like a million others around the country.  The kids are just kids.  You'll find them on every street all over the world.  They laugh and play and cry and learn just like all the other kids.  What's the big deal, you might ask.  What makes Thomas so special?  

I guess to really understand the answer, you have to have been here.  You have to have lived a chunk of your life inside its welcoming halls. You have to have been greeted each morning with a hug and been loved by its smiling teachers.  You have to have been part of this place-turned-family to really know what is ending.  

If you have been here, you know that this old building is really a magical place.  I don't have to tell you, you already know that the people here are special.  Maybe not especially different in their own right, but special because we have been blessed to be a part of something bigger.  We have been part of this family called Thomas.  We all arrived, raggedy and self-contained, and have been absorbed into this otherness.  Maybe it's something about the walls, the smell of the halls, the sheer number of years that children have spent learning and laughing here.  Maybe it's the commitment to each student that all the adults share, parents and teachers alike.  

Maybe there really is no explaining it.  

Maybe it's magic.  Maybe the final gift that John Thomas Elementary gives us is simply this.  We have been here.  We have been a part of this family.  We have laughed and learned and played within these walls.  And no matter what changes lie ahead, that will always be with us.  

18 comments:

Amy said...

Oh, that is so sad. I do so hate goodbyes . . . yes, they must be, so we might have the chance to say hello. But still . . .

I'll be thinking of you all especially today!

xoxo

Mac n' Janet said...

I remember my last day of teaching, sadness yes, but joy too for a new era of my life was beginning. Best wishes for what comes next.

Tracy said...

Such bittersweetness... Wishing you peace of heart and mind and you remember and look ahead, Relyn. :o) We're heading to the USA on Monday to visit my family for some days. Online time will be limited, but I hope to be around.((HUGS))

Ally said...

We all arrived, raggedy and self-contained, and have been absorbed into this otherness.

Your words describe this situation perfectly. I know the bittersweetness of closing doors behind you for the last time. There is such a sense of relief + despair that processing your feelings can be almost impossible in the moment. Yet you've done a marvelous job here.

Ever onward, eh?

Suz said...

I know by the way you described it that magic of life happened there..of teaching and learning. And you were a big part of that...but you Relyn will take the magic ...your magic with you..wherever you go...for magic must be spread...the magic of love and caring and dedication
All will be well......

Anonymous said...
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Simone said...

I dread saying good bye so I find that it's easier to say, "See you later!" I'm hoping that your heart heals from letting go of something precious.

Jennifer Richardson said...

what a slice of heaven
you've enjoyed
and helped create.
it's inside of you,
that DNA, and you'll carry
it into chaos
and life-building beauty
will hover over it there too
and light will "be"
where there was only shadow before.
you're a light-bearer,
friend.
It will become sweet
wherever you're planted:)
I wish you comfort and peace,
Jen

Marilyn said...

It is sad to say goodbye when you have such dear memories of this special place. Take care and savor the hugs!

Sweet Tea said...

Are you changing jobs or is the school closing? Whichever, I understand that change is often hard and sad. I hope the future is equally as cheery as the memories from the past.

Jeanne said...

Big hugs and much love to you.
You will always bloom where you are planted my friend.
Much love
Jeanne

Jeanie said...

What a terribly difficult time this must be for you, Relyn. Your words are beautiful. Your memories all the more so.

Roban said...

I am so sorry about your school. My school is very similar to Thomas, except the kids are bigger (middle school). We're a family dedicated to the students we teach.

I'm hoping that you and the students adjust easily next year and that you'll find the magic and the hugs wherever you are.

Lubna said...

I know it must have been a difficult moment for you and your students. Ido hope they find teachers as wonderful as you. Take care.

Deborah Carr said...

Live the sadness, Relyn...there is meaning in it. Don't cheat yourself of feeling the everything of loss and goodbyes.

Chris Graham said...

What a beautiflul post. I taught for 30 years, not in one place, but it captures a part of your heartthat anyone who has not had the incredible blessing of teaching precious children can understand.

elizabeth said...

What a hard thing! I know I can't feel all of what you feel, but I can feel a good bit of your sadness through your words. Sending love.

susanna said...

Awww...sounds like an amazing school, Relyn. You know, though, places like that have a way of staying in our memory throughout our lives. I'm glad you were able to spend so many years working in such a positive environment. No doubt the students you've had over the last eleven years will remember Mrs.Lawson forever. I hope that the next school you teach at will be as wonderful a place as John Thomas Elementary. Your new students are in for a treat this September.

Oldies, but Goodies