It is the first day of the holiday break. My thoughts aren’t entirely organized. Often a celebration moment or theme is clear to me by the end of the week and I know what it is I want to share in my celebration post. This morning I woke up with the need to celebrate and the self-permission (is that a thing?) to just start typing and see where it goes. Then I looked up the word ramblings and found it defined as:
talk or writing that goes on for a long time and is boring, annoying or confusing
burble, murmur, patter
Boring and annoying? Oh dear. Burble? That sounds quite charming.
But what from my week “burbled up” and “murmured” to me?
Hmmm . . .
The last week of school before the holiday break is intense for everyone involved. Teachers, students, parents, school staff . . . At my school, woven into the excitement of special events, musical performances and holiday treats is the anxiety of a long break away from school. Many of our students don’t look forward to winter holidays with eager anticipation. They instead feel worried, sad, even angry. A two week break from school means no breakfast program, no hot lunches, no expected routines or days filled with people who start each day (with them) with kindness and acceptance, no matter what.
It’s hard. It is emotional. There is lots of crying, upset and confused feelings. I barely had a break all week. Some children wouldn’t leave the room when it was my prep time because transitions were just too much. I couldn’t get everybody out for recess every day because “can’t we just stay with you?” Some lunches, I had to promise to sit in the cafeteria with children to lure them down to eat. Sometimes, I felt completely exhausted.
Yesterday, I was the last one in the cafeteria with two of my students and a little guy from the Kindergarten class. We had recovered from the tears that had explained and unexplained reasons. The eating began with carrot stick crunching contests and ended with silent yogurt swallowing. Smiles had returned. We had to get outside. So in the spirit of much needed silliness, I invited them all onto the Happiness Train. Tickets? A big smile.
We hopped out of the lunch room chanting “Chugga Chugga Chugga, Chugga Chugga Chugga, Choo Choo!” Out the doors into the school yard, all holding on to the jacket of the person in front of us. We snaked through the school yard, chanting and giggling. And then, our train grew. Contagious happy, contagious silly, contagious laughter. I hopped around the playground leading my train of little gigglers for close to 20 minutes.
Some boarded our train, eagerly just joining in and starting to sing with us. Others stood and asked,”Why are you doing that?” We didn’t answer. We just told them to hop aboard!
There is something freeing about leaping about and laughing with a bunch of five to eight year olds along for the ride. Freeing and needed.
Finally, one of my little guys leaped in front of us. “This is the terminus! Last stop!” he shouted. And, we all agreed. The children ran off, lighter, ready for the last ten minutes of playtime. I walked inside, lighter, but loaded down with connection, calm and the feeling of “just right.”
Here I am at the end of my ramblings. I didn’t know this is where I was going to end. But it is the last stop! I am changing trains and stepping on to the Holiday Downtime Express.
I celebrate all of these journeys.
Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community!
Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.
Happy Winter break to all!