My last day in fifth-grade was June 8th. I did return to my room for a few hours on the 9th to finish packing, and return my keys along with my teacher laptop. While I knew this day was coming, it didn’t make it any easier. Tears were shed in the weeks leading up to my finale, hugs were given, final goodbyes were shared. Winne-the-Pooh’s quote “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard” played through my head. As the end neared, time seemed to speed up as much as I hoped to savor those last moments. My daughter, a teacher now herself, and a friend drove up to be with me, surprising me in my classroom on June 7th. They hung out with my class, participating in field day, helping with our walking taco lunch, and then helping pack up my room. As the day ended Thursday, my fifth-graders were busy with an assembly and a golden folder ceremony, followed by a video yearbook presentation. They would be leaving the school they’d been at one last time too as they move on to middle school. Many of my girls were in tears and didn’t want to leave. Their tears gave way to tears of my own. As I said my final goodbyes to my class I exchanged high-fives, fist-bumps, and hugs as tears streamed down my cheeks. Where did the time go? How could it already be the end of the year?
I’m now beginning the second week of retirement. My district email no longer works, there are no messages from parents or colleagues, no summer workshops, no must read YA or professional books. I’ve already seen the doctor for a yearly check-up and had my teeth cleaned; traveled to St. Louis for a four-day visit with my daughter; attended baseball games in Chicago (Cubs), St. Louis (Cardinals), and Milwaukee (Brewers); and spent time with family and friends. I’ve had time for morning coffee in a favorite chair and reading too. Soon we will be heading to a family reunion, so I’m packing and preparing. Adjusting to a less scheduled pace takes time, just as it has in past summers. This one is different however, I’m not planning for the next school year (yet). I’m not sure what adventures await. (Hopefully I’ll still be working with students – just not sure where yet.)