Tomorrow is my last day and I am feeling ALL OF THE THINGS! I am sad and excited and terrified and heartbroken and hesitant and confident and unsure. I am not the same person I was 6 years ago. I have been changed by every single person, the grown up ones and the not so grown up ones. I have been present. That is what I have learned to do. To just BE PRESENT. I have been present for laughter and first whispered words at school and tears for mom and primal terror related to unbearable past traumas and sometimes current traumas. I have been present for loss. Loss of homes and pets and family structures and siblings and life itself. I have been present for frustration and anger and the building up of walls to protect hearts and the slow and steady chipping away as those walls have come down. I have been present for good days and proud moments and pure joy.
I have felt inferior. And completely useless. Irritated, frustrated, and just plain angry. But I have also laughed. Every. single. day.
I have made friends who believed in me. Which, in turn, made me believe in me. I was given a backbone. And for that I am grateful.
I am starting over. But I am starting over as someone who does not know everything but does know some things. Someone who is not afraid to try.
I have done an amazing job of staying busy enough that the actual leaving part did not immediately sink in. Until a student walked away this week carrying a physical piece of my heart. Saying goodbye can be really hard. And then an entire classroom of 5th graders sang “Don’t you forget about me.” It’s hard not to think about saying goodbye when that happens! Tomorrow is coming. And I will give hugs to the grown ups and the not so grown ups. And I will come home missing a significant portion of my heart because I can’t help but hand it out. But it will grow back. It always does. And Monday I will start a new path. And I will meet new grown ups and not so grown ups who will each change me in their own way. I will be both afraid and not afraid. Look out Cahokia, I’m coming! :)