Tuesday, July 9, 2013

You never know what you've got...

I can hardly believe it's been over a month since I last walked through the doors of Heritage Elementary.  Much like the seven years I spent there, at times my last day seems like a lifetime ago, and at times, it feels like only yesterday.  Summer has a funny way of launching one into a time warp, one in which I've spent much time, myself, submerged in self reflection.

When I made the decision to move on, I had no idea it would affect me so much.  I was in denial about how many tears I would shed.  I should have guessed.  I mean, in my entire life, I have never been anywhere more than 4 or 5 years.  My own educational experience included 5 elementary schools.  Growing up, my family could be classified as somewhat nomadic, never staying in one place more than a year or two.  So the fact that I was part of the same community long enough to watch my first 5th graders become seniors in high school is a pretty big deal.  I was able to grow with families, and some of my students, I can remember their older brothers and sisters coming to me excited about their birth.

Of course, it wasn't just my students and their families that I watched grow.  I was so lucky to meet amazing educators who pushed me to become the teacher I am today.  I was one interview away from quitting teaching altogether when I stumbled upon the classified ad a week before school started in 2006.  I literally owe my career to this school.  While it is not perfect (no place is), I learned so much from the people who surrounded me for 7 years, and I made friendships that will last forever.

"Thank you" does not seem enough for all the well wishes and words of encouragement I've received since I announced I wasn't returning, not to mention the cards and cake...I didn't give much notice, and was overwhelmed by the sincere emotions shown to me from children, parents, and faculty. I assure you, these are things I will not soon forget, and at times when I doubt my abilities, I will remember the things shared with me in these final hours.

While I have thought and reflected upon these things daily, I have at the same time tried not to...not because I want to forget, and yet, you never know what you have until you don't have it anymore.  I know I will always be welcome, and I know that my next adventure will be wonderful in its own right.  Still, there are feelings of loss that I never imagined would be there.  So for any of my Heritage family stumbling upon this little ramble, please know you always have a special place in my heart, and trust me....I know what I have in you.

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