Big news in our house this week! Jude graduated pre-k yesterday with a little ceremony with his classmates. I snapped a quick picture of the kids before we got in the car in the morning so that I could compare it with last August’s “first day” photo, and it’s hard to believe how much they’ve grown in the past 9 or so months. It’s been such a tremendous time of growth and change for all of us. And when I see these smiling faces and happy kids, I feel such a swell of peace and pride.
As teachers, I think we approach life through the lens of the academic year a bit. January brings a fresh start for most people, but we run along in an August to May pattern sometimes. So to look back at the insane changes that happened this year and what we had before us (unknown to me) last August, it feels SO GOOD to have it all behind me. We did it! I can’t wait to exhale this summer.
I took care of a few last minute things in my office on Friday morning, and then I picked up the kids from school at 2:00 – meaning of course that I walked the tiny distance to get them from my campus’s on-site child development center. We walked around a bit to enjoy the weather, and the kids played with the sculptures near the fine arts building as we waited for family to show up for the big ceremony.
I could write a novel-length post here about how amazing my job is and how much I value my community there and how insanely and divinely perfect this opportunity was for me in light of my current situation. But I should also mention that the very best thing about my job is that the kids are plugged in right where I am. I’m grateful that they get to see art exhibits or plays or ballets or whatever is happening on campus at any given moment, but I’m also thankful for caring teachers and the sense of community that exists there. I can pop in whenever I’m needed or want to check on something or help with things. It is such a gift to see these moments in the middle of my workday – birthday celebrations with classes, reading a favorite book, trick or treating on Halloween. All of it right there with me. I never take it for granted.
The ceremony was adorable, and Jude received a diploma and a folder showcasing much of his work for the year. He has grown so incredibly much this year, and I know he’s still little and it’s only pre-k, but you really can’t help but feel unbelievably proud of your kids as you watch them achieve milestones like this one. He has so much ahead of him and a bright future waiting. I’m excited to watch it unfold. But for yesterday, I was also just happy to celebrate what he’s done already. Five is such a great age. The world is wide open for him.
On the whole, as I finish this school year and this stage with my oldest, I’m just feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Yes, there are things that seem pretty unfair and certainly unexpected about this past few months, but those details are fading and bothering me less and less every day. I don’t have to fight those thoughts from my head much anymore as I did in the beginning.
There’s too much happiness and promise waiting down the road for me to dwell on anything else for too long. Everyone has her own road to walk, so to speak – her own path and purpose. Mine feels pretty good lately. I love these kids. I love my community. I love my job. And yesterday, I was so grateful for all of those things and how much they are shaping my life as I know it.
Cheers to summer! To rest and resetting my thoughts and priorities. To celebrating and appreciating these two kids and my little life. It’s a good one.