So Steve and I went to the Open House at school last week. I was there to sit at the Dollars for Scholars table (no, I do not miss open house so much that I had to go back despite having no kids there!). I went to sit in the hall at the DFS table as I waited for my fellow board members who were bringing the supplies and across from me was the Parent Teach Organization table. There was a mom and her 2 elementary aged daughters there and then several other moms came up and talked with them, some of whom were other PTO members. I am not sure I can adequately describe the feeling I had watching this…I was on the PTO when my boyz were in elementary school, though we called it the PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association)….I remember it vividly – sitting at the cafeteria tables having meetings with way too few people, planning activities for the kids as well as fundraisers….all of the things I now do with the DFS board. I was acutely aware that while I recognized most of the people – we do live in a tiny town- I did not know them and they likely did not know me.
We live in a very small town, my husband is a teacher and I am a therapist at the local health center so we know a fair bit of people – especially at school. Yet I felt like a stranger in there. And I truly felt like I was watching the cycle of life continue right before my eyes. A place that was integral to the boyz lives and our family’s lives, that felt so familiar and comfortable for the last 13 years, suddenly felt strange and slightly unfamiliar. Yet I could watch and listen as these other families were in the midst of the busyness, the involvement and the social life that is parenting and volunteering when you have a young, active children. The feeling was palpable …I did not feel like crying, but there was a sense of grief, of loss and of time moving regardless of what I am/am not doing.
Seeing the colors change, as they do each year…going through their own cycle of life
Looking around the halls, it seemed like much more than 4 months since Seamus, Brendan and Casey roamed those halls so fluidly and naturally. They did have a particularly likeable and hard working class so teachers always said how much they would be missed. As much as we know it is true that people are missed, we also know people quickly move on….it was surreal to feel it so gutterally. When I went on the 3rd floor, aka, the high school floor, several teachers asked about how the boyz were doing (many know from working with Steve), but the rest of the building was oblivious to our change, to the students that have moved on. It reminded me of grief – when someone dies and everyone rallies around the family but quickly people get on with their lives while the family is still living the loss every day. While it is not that strong, it is the same sentiment, the same idea that was playing out.
As some leaves have already passed their time, others are in their beauty..
When Steve came home we talked about it as he also felt it that night. He has been in school for a month and has not talked a lot about how different it feels without the boyz there. They went to his classroom daily from the time they were in Kindergarten…yet much of his year is different so he has not felt their absence at school as profoundly as he expected. Until Open House. Steve had previous students, now married with kids of their own, who came to his classroom to say hello. He was also reminded of the cycle of life, how quickly time moves forward and how especially true this feels in small town America where many do not move away so you see the generations repeating themselves right before your eyes. This is both beautiful and sad- it is reassuring to know life goes on….yet sad that phases that feel so significant to us at some point are just over.
Turkeys moving thru our front yard…just like the ones who preceeded them last year…
Yet are they over? They do stay within us and shape who we become. We would not be the same if we had stayed in Maryland and never moved here….we would not have been touched by the same people, the same experiences, the same natural environment… So I can know that each one of the boyz is inextricably linked to this place, our home and yes, even the school…and with that they, and we as their parents, can move forward with wonder at what will come next…and with appreciation for what we have had here and what resides within us because of that.