I walked out the door today, arms filled with a box of assorted office what-cha-ma-call-its, a treasured book, a picture of me and my dear Adam, and a little vase filled with three beautiful fake flowers that has kept my desk cheerful and maintenance-free for the last six years. It really just seems like any other day today. But it's not. Today is tearfully different. Today is the day I say goodbye to the school that lead to my growth as a teacher. It's the school that saw me through a rough patch and watched me meet my soon-to-be husband. It's the school that I poured heart and soul into for six wonderful years.
I couldn't let go of the feeling that I was leaving something behind. I looked up and down the hallways and although I could see nothing that I was forgetting to take with me, the weighted feeling that I was missing something important remained. I went to complete my last task - boxing up some paperwork that was to be shredded. And I realized it was the final mission I would take on for this school.
I've taken on a number of missions, miniscule and monumental, for this organization. Some I couldn't wait to have off my plate and some I heartfully struggled to step away from. It is important to me that my efforts make a positive impact on a school and not just a little impact, but a huge, lasting, magnificent crater.
And with this thought, I realized what I was leaving behind. I was leaving behind myself. It was nothing that I could wrap in tissue paper or package in bubble wrap. It was nothing that I could take away from this school at all. It was the contribution left by hours of dedication and love for the students of this place. Through my bleary eyes, I realized that the magnificent moments that changed my heart and the hearts of my students... the beautiful moments in which a student believed that maybe something difficult was actually possible and that it was within them to achieve it... were what I left. These moments travel on in my mind, in my heart, and in the hearts and minds of my incredible students. I'm grateful that these moments live on and I can only hope that they will be magnified by the choices of my kids.
The next chapter is vague and unknown. But this is one thing that will continue no matter where I go. I want my life to publish hope. Always.