The “real” end of a year happens for me every June. The school year ends and summer begins. I have lived a majority of my life on this schedule and am always surprised when January shows up and I need new calendars and date books. My year began 4 months before.
I become nostaglic in June, thinking of the many students I have welcomed into my heart and am now letting go. As always several seem to build second homes in my world and whether they realize it or not, I have as much trouble saying good-bye and letting go as their parents do. They insinuate themselves into my daily routine and I find myself a mom to multiple teenagers in multiple ways. Confidante, moral compass, cheerleader, loyal fan, disciplinarian, and friend, they drain me and fill me at the same time. There is always another group waiting to take the graduating kids place, but each holds a special spot in my soul. That is why I don’t and can’t go to graduation. It rips my heart out in so many ways. Joy at watching them move toward the next chapter in their lives, faith that they will find their way, and my personal angst at letting go. Those are “my kids” crossing that stage and I hope I do them all the service of preparing them in some way for what awaits them outside the doors.
I hope I have taught them to laugh – even when things seem dark, laughter brings light, to think beyond themselves, to give to each other, to be kind to all, to find the good in the worst situation, to stand up for their beliefs, but to do so in a manner that is mature and thought out, not just in a fit of righteous indignation, and to cry when they need to. I hope they understand just how much they each mean to me and will remember the lessons that weren’t part of the curriculum I tried to teach them.