Last week I wrote about boxes in my celebration post. Today, I am still talking boxes. When moving happens, boxes happen. They are collected. Taped together. Filled. Numbered. Labelled. Stacked. As the box towers got bigger, the leaving became more and more real. Soon the boxes contained most of what was coming with me. The stuff not yet packed tempted me to abandon careful organization and just shove it all in and seal it up. When really, I needed to handle item by item and commit to letting it go. The stuff that needs to stay? All that is more about history than future. Those last piles of things are the most exhausting.
I have done all of this box maneuvering while still teaching children every day. Arrive at 7:30 a.m. to top up and seal those last boxes I couldn’t finish the previous evening. Ready the room for children. Pour another cup of coffee and open the door to students at 8:55 am. Teach and work with kids all day. At 3 p.m. dismiss the students and begin packing again. Each box went much the same way: a heavy but thin layer of books at the bottom, then stacks of lighter things. Everything in the room considered for its shape, its weight, its depth and whether I needed it the next day to work with the students in the room.
Finish packing at 7 p.m. and spend up to an hour clearing up, readying the room for students again. Clear tables, bin up the things I pulled out and didn’t pack. Find new areas to stack boxes. Keep work areas clear. Leave for home around 8 p.m. – remedy the missed dinner, acknowledge the exhaustion, drink endless cups of water, visit briefly with my family, sleep. Wake multiple times in the night to worry about what still needs to get done.
I have done this routine for 2 full weeks. Each day packing up a room and then readying it again for children in the morning.
In the last few days were the goodbyes. The tears. The never ending hugs. The love.
Every afternoon for the past 2 weeks, these three girls stayed behind at 3 p.m. to show me a dance they had choreographed in my honour. It involved lots of giggles and some original poetry reading. Each day a new routine. All for me. What could be sweeter?
On my last day with students, I fed them all day. Morning baking. Popsicles after recess. Popcorn with their buddies in the afternoon. Eating kept some of the emotions in check. Here we are sharing a calendar made for me with student photos.
We ended our last day together with a gratitude circle. It was truly beautiful. I told them I am grateful for all of it. The laughter. The learning. The hard stuff. The tears. The joy.
“Even the not listening?” one child asked.
“Yes, that too.”
“The crying even?”
“The crying even.”
“All of it?”
“All of it.”
And I am. I celebrate my year with these students. I celebrate 21 years at this little school. I celebrate that I am brave enough to move. And that I have a new space to ready for students this September.
And a whole lot of boxes to unpack. One at a time.
Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community!
Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.