"So many faces in and out of my life,
Some will last, some will just be now and then.
Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes,
I'm afraid it's time for goodbye again."
-Billy Joel, "Say Goodbye to Hollywood"
Teachers are lucky enough to get two New Years' celebrations. Like the rest of the world, we have January 1st as our calendar new year, but we also end the school year and then get a fresh start a couple of months later. Here on Long Island, school ended on June 25th and my birthday is June 29th, which makes June a time of endings and beginnings for me. As I turn a year older, my school year comes to a close, leading to reflection and goal-setting for the year ahead.
It's been a time of goodbyes and hellos in our family too. We said goodbye to our red Acadia, the car we bought when we knew our family was expanding, when my son Alex was not yet two years old. Alex picked out our new silver car (still an Acadia- we are loyal to the brand!) but didn't realize that meant we were giving back the red car. On the night when the exchange was to take place, Alex wept with utter sadness about how he would miss the red car and how he felt sorry for it. I tried to tell him the red car was happy to be meeting a new family and having new adventures, but he did not want to hear about it. He has since come around to enjoying the silver car, which has a built-in DVD player near his seat, which has eased the pain of losing the red car.
(Here Alex is enjoying the movie in our new car)
In addition to a new car, Alex is starting a new group at his preschool for camp. He's been a Papaya since last summer and all school year, but he is moving up to the Pineapples. (His school names each class after fruits. He's been a Grape, an Orange, a Cherry twice, a Papaya and now, in his last year, a Pineapple). It's been hard for him to accept that he is leaving the Papayas. I tried to remind him that each year, he's felt a little sad leaving his class but always has so much fun in his new class. Goodbyes aren't easy for little people, or big people either.
Doors close sometimes when we least expect it, which was something that happened for a good friend of mine at the end of the year. While it is not my story to tell, this closing door was painful, confusing, and sad for not only my friend, but our entire team. It cast a long, dark shadow on what was, for us, a brilliantly bright year of energized learning and growth. I recently saw a meme on Facebook that said: "If life closes a door, open it again. That is how doors work." For my friend, I am wishing a door to open to better opportunities where her gifts are fully appreciated, yet I am still sad to know that our day to day collaboration has ended.
Doors closing, doors opening. Goodbyes and hellos. Elizabeth Bishop writes about this in her poem, "One Art", where she says, "The art of losing isn't hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster." (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/176996) My Grandy always told us, "Don't look back" which was his way of reminding us not to get lost in what was and to keep on keeping on, even when you feel tugged backwards to what was, to what was lost. And so as chapters close, new ones begin.
I am filled with joy and excitement about a new chapter in my life- joining the team at Two Writing Teachers as a co-author, along with Deb Frazier. The Two Writing Teachers community has quickly become my go-to place each day for pearls of wisdom, inspiration, ideas, and support. Stacey's vision and the expertise of the whole team- Stacey, Anna, Beth, Dana, Tara, and Betsy- make this site so rich and valuable for all teachers. The community of teachers who participate in the Slice of Life and post comments each day are equally as amazing and insightful and I learn so much from reading the comments and Slices weekly. To have the opportunity to share my classroom learnings and insights on this blog is really a dream come true. I've had to pinch myself a lot lately. I am very grateful for this opportunity and look forward to writing, sharing, learning and growing with the entire Two Writing Teachers community.
The Beatles sang, "You say goodbye and I say hello." As June ends, some goodbyes are harder than others but I am reminded to look forward, to have faith that some doors closing lead to better doors opening. And so I say an enthusiastic "Hello" to the new opportunities that have arrived and for the ones waiting just around the corner.