Today was our last day, my last day at work and the kids last day at school. To say that it was hard is an understatement. It is the part of this journey that I hadn't given a whole lot of thought too. It was probably a sub conscious move on my part, only wanting to think about what lies ahead in our new lives, not wanting to think about saying goodbye.
The first time I started working at Tot Stop I was a young girl living at home with my parents. I wanted that job so bad I had called the owners and begged them like 3 different times for the job. I knew it was the right fit, I knew that school was where I belonged. Growing up I wasn't a super confident person. When I started teaching preschool at 19 years old it became the very first thing that I did where I had utter and complete confidence in myself. I knew I could do it. I knew I was a good teacher. I had a passion for it and I loved those kids so much.
They finally hired me. I actually have a journal I kept at that time and the entry from my first day at work says "I started a new job today at Tot Stop. I am really going to love it there"
That school has seen me through so much. It is where I was working when my dad died and it was also where I was working 18 years later when my mom died.
I haven't worked there for the whole 19 years, I have left a couple of different times for several years in between. The first time I left to stay home and run a home day care (yea, that was a really bad idea) and the second time I left to pursue something new, (long story, whole different post). But it has been a place where I could always go back to. My connection to this school runs deep. My memories are vast. The first class I ever taught are all 21 and 22 years old now. (did I just say that?) This school has been such a comfort zone for me.
I have made so many friends over the years at this place, other teachers, parents, and even the kids.
I am not the same person as I was in the beginning for sure. I mean for one, I have obviously gotten older, thus (lets hope) wiser. I have had a lot of life happen to me since that day in 1992 when I walked through those doors.
I have lost both parents, met and married my husband, had two kids, and bought and sold 3 houses. Those are the big things that have happened to me in those 19 years. There have also been so many little things. I had the chicken pox working there, I was 23 years old and it was NOT pretty. I took a class on a field trip and ran out of gas in my car with 3 kids in my car. I had the worst morning sickness ever through my pregnancy with Allison and puked every single day in my classroom. I watched both of my own kids go all the way through this school. They both graduated from the same Kindergarten class that I have been teaching for the last 22 months.
Saying goodbye to the teachers, students and parents wasn't easy, although I did a really good job holding it together. The staff had an awesome pot luck lunch for me with 3 chocolate cakes for dessert! I mean come on what is better than that!
I hope that some of the parents keep in touch, I will miss them. They were all so unbelievably supportive and understanding when I told them I was leaving. I am sure I will keep in touch with the staff, the owner is a really good friend of mine so that will help keep the connection.
Today was also the day that my girls had to say goodbye at their schools. This is only the second year that Gianna has been going to her school. She has loved it, she has made some great friends and everything but obviously her connections aren't the same. It was still hard to say goodbye but not nearly as hard as it was for Allison. Gianna's biggest struggle right now is not saying goodbye, it's missing her daddy. She has missed him so much and is so anxious to get to the other side of this journey.
Allison saying goodbye was a whole different story. When Allison started high school last year as a freshman we decided that she would go to the brand new high school that had just been built by our new house. It was just opening and it was only going to have two classes, as in it wasn't going to have any juniors or seniors. It was a beautiful campus, it was only going to have 650 students and it was right around the corner from our house. No brainer, right? Well the only problem was that all of the friends that she had grown up with literally since Tot Stop were going to La Quinta high, the school that was by our old house. All of her friends but one of her very best friends, Chandler, she was going to Shadow Hills too. Making the decision to go to SHHS wasn't an easy one, it's beautiful and it's brand new but starting a new school with only one friend is kind of hard. It has turned out to be the best decision we could have made. Allison has loved her school. She has made some friends that I know she will be friends with for the rest of her life. I love these girls. She also has her boyfriend that is awesome and we all love so much. Allison is captain of her cheer team, and she loves those girls to pieces. I don't know if she will ever find another group of girls that she gets along with so well. These kids are amazing. Chris and I have also grown very attached to them, we are even having a really hard time saying goodbye.
Today she said goodbye to them at school, but tomorrow they are having a party for her. I am sure the tears will be flowing. I just wish we could take them with us. Hopefully we will have lots of visitors in Virginia this summer!