Opening Doors

30 May

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Yesterday, I attended my last-ever Spring Walkthrough for my sons. In just one month, I will no longer have any children in elementary school. Everything feels so wistful and nostalgic and momentous underneath an overwhelmingly heavy blanket of sentiment.

I tried to absorb every moment of Spring Walkthrough, instead of just completing it as in years past. I paid attention to each detail of my sons’ handiwork, spent time on all the bulletin boards decorated with their projects, read everything as if it wouldn’t be sent home next month in a large paper bag. As we moved from classroom to classroom, I became increasingly emotional. My eyes watered, my heart ached, my babies were growing up.

Approximately halfway through the evening, the power failed for the briefest of moments and then the fire alarm sounded. There was talk as to whether someone intentionally pulled it or it was an actual problem. Everyone was told to leave the building. Over 1000 people congregated on the steps of the school as the fire trucks pulled in, and firemen in full gear with axes made their way inside. It was hot and chaotic and it seemed the sky was ready to open up. And then, out of nowhere, someone decided to blast the song “Happy.” Kids began to sing, a group of girls began to dance on the steps, parents began to groove. The infectious beat slowly spread among the people crowded out there waiting for this night to end. As I looked at my kids jumping up and down, at the girls dancing, at my hips rocking, I thought, “this is ridiculous! Life is ridiculous!” And I laughed.

The firemen exited, some kids took pictures with them, and the man with the boombox re-entered the building. I don’t know if there was a genuine issue or whether the fire alarm was a prank. Either way, it was the best Spring Walkthrough I’ve ever been to. Thank goodness for that unexpected minute of chaos and contagious joy and insanity. It was a perfect moment that I sorely needed. And It saved me from myself.

I am not a fan of change. I spend so much time emphasizing the importance of “lasts” that I often forget to recognize the beauty of “firsts.” I need to look at every new door as an opening instead of sadly watching an old door close. I’m going to start celebrating more beginnings instead of solely focusing on endings.

Thank you to that fire alarm. Thank you to that man with the music. Thank you to those girls on the steps. Thank you to unchoreographed moments of absurdity. And thank you to my sons, nonchalant through all my tears and hysteria and reflection.  I wish you the best last month of elementary school and I look forward to seeing you start middle school in the fall.

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