Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Good Enough Goodbye

Sometimes there's no adequate way to end something, to say something that "sums" it up, or gracefully ties an appropriate knot.

The last days of school are a blur, they were over a month ago now, almost two. A visit to my home, to my city knocked the senses back into me. Daily yoga, naps, an attempt at reading a novel, several workers comp Psych visits, an MRI, Check ups and finally? A brain so relaxed that an appointment has been missed. I see myself in the mirror and I wonder, how did I get through those last months of school? I was injured, I was scared, I was anxious and I had a lot of work to do.

Sometimes theres no adequate way to say "Thank you", no words deep or wide enough to encompass the gratitude for those who made me returning to my classroom last January possible. My three Para's, my team, my hands, eyes, arms and voices. They were my steady beating heart in the midst of my anxiety and disequilibrium. These women did more than rise to the occasion, they made me being there possible.

After these several months of running on adrenaline, I am finally recalbirating back to my daily life. I will not miss the dread of a phone call from HR, my Principal illegally telling me to only make workers comp Dr. appointments, at the end of the school day (which I always did). I will not miss colleagues questioning why it's developmentally appropriate for young children to be resting at the end of their day, questioning what the children could possibly be learning in my classroom, a play based, child centered environment. No, I will not miss these things.

But I will miss the children. I'll miss hearing Alice say to herself "It's okay", even when it wasn't. I'll miss her saying my name spontaneously without prompting. I'll miss little Edward's joy as he barreled into Alice to greet her each morning. I'll miss the look on Lightnings face while he gleefully played chase, safely in the classroom without eloping into the world beyond. I will miss Francis earnestly requesting "Old Mac Donald", and starting to cry each and every morning when I asked him how he felt, only to see him smiling a few seconds later. I'll miss watching Sara blooming into a successful Kindergarten student who can paint mountains, make friends and speak her mind without hesitation or worry. I'll miss circle time, watching my kids come together daily to sit together and participate together in song, learning, in community. I'll miss lunch time, one child singing to another the words to Mr. Roger's song "It's You I Like", and the other child singing it back to him with eye contact, with intent, in shared meaning.
It's you I like,
It's not the things you wear,
It's not the way you do your hair--
But it's you I like.
The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you--
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys--
They're just beside you.

But it's you I like--
Every part of you,
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you'll remember
Even when you're feeling blue
That it's you I like,
It's you yourself,
It's you, it's you I like.
It's You I Like
By Fred M. Rogers
© 1970

I do not wonder or question or doubt what these children have learned by being in my classroom. They are as a whole, more flexible, more adaptable, better able to make transitions, make friends and they are better communicators because I  and my team were on the floor, in their faces reflecting, talking, and laughing with them.

I say goodbye knowing that it wasn't my best, I probably should have been wearing a helmet and a hazmat suit, but it was more than good enough.

And I am grateful. There are quite literally Blue Skies ahead.


"Goodbye Miss Amy! Good luck and be careful not to bump your head!" - Max, age four and attending Full Inclusion Kindergarten this coming August.

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