Dear Elementary School,
I wish I knew how to quit you.
My baby girl’s last day to walk your dear sweet rainbow-colored halls is today.
I am not handling it well.
In fact, I couldn’t face seeing you today. I’m a puffy-eyed blubbering mess, sort of reminiscent of Tammy Faye Bakker at a full boil…just without the mascara. I didn’t even bother with makeup today. I knew it wouldn’t last.
My youngest child is being shoved from your cozy, construction paper-lined nest and forced to fly to MIDDLE SCHOOL next year…in FIFTH GRADE…at the ripe old age of NINE.
Don’t get me started, Elementary School. I know you agree it’s too soon, but it’s out of our hands here. Sure, we’d give anything to linger at least one more year in your loving arms, but we must soldier on — and away from you. Which kind of blows.
But before we go, I had to tell you how I feel.
I will miss you dearly, Elementary School.
I will miss your Technicolor playgrounds with all those sparkly sneakers stretching from your swing sets into the sky. As far as I can tell, the big kids have fields and basketball courts and a lot of loitering.
I will miss the little kids walking your halls single-file. There may be imps who dawdle and goof and do the occasional cartwheel, but there are no marauding bands of tweens here. I like that.
I will miss your bulletin boards with the bubble letters, the teachers’ smiley stickers on homework papers, your miles and miles of lamination.
I will miss your miniature desks and your miniature chairs and your miniature water fountains that will one day seem like a scene out of Munchkin Land to my grown-up kids.
I will miss your teachers. They have helped me raise my children so thoughtfully, so skillfully, so generously; I truly consider them friends now. (I mean, I barely know my middle schooler’s teachers’ names. It’s just different now.)
I will miss your never-ending cavalcade of plays, concerts, and assemblies. I won’t lie to you; they were long. Half the time, we couldn’t hear what anyone was saying. And those screechy renditions of Greensleeves on the recorder might have caused permanent hearing loss. But those were big days for our kids, and they gave us parents a chance to take pictures of our kids in ridiculous costumes and sniffle our way through the school song. We’ll miss that stuff. (Some of it.)
I will miss your bins of busted-up crayons and crusty glue sticks. You always had tools at the ready when inspiration struck and stick figures had to be drawn.
I will miss your little kid artwork all over the walls. (I’m a real sucker for those hand-prints.) Middle school art gets a little moody, crying-clownish. I like your happy handprints.
I know, I know. I’m getting a little sappy and morose. I get like that at the big moments — and this one feels huge to me.
My head tells me it’s time to move on, and I know eventually I will.
It won’t take long (less than three months, in fact) before you’ll start seeing other people (lots of them).
And in time, I’ll start to forget you, what you were like, the moments we shared together.
But Elementary School, I’ll never forget we had something really special for a while.
I know this much is true…I could never love another school the way I loved you.
P.S. Okay, parents. What did I miss? What will you miss? And Godspeed to all of you in the parenting trenches this summer. It begins…