Ben's last day of school is today, and like each year before it, from Kindergarten until now, the end of his third grade year, I feel the melancholy that one feels when something ends, a longing to capture back a bit of time that you know won't come again.
But today is not a typical last day of school because our beloved Crest Drive Elementary, at the edge of the city, nestled within this idyllic, natural setting, where on our morning drive we could often see deer and hear the song of more than a dozen different species of birds, will be closed up with no immediate plans for future occupants.
I mourn the closure of his school as deeply as the loss of someone I love, for it indeed is a permanent loss.
Our amazing teachers (many of whom are transitioning on to Adams Elementary), principal, and support staff will be spread out across Eugene. A close-knit community dissolved.
There has been so much talk, and even a little literature, on how best to "speak to our children about this closure". About holding our heads high, keeping our words kind and upbeat to make this time easier for them. And as much as I have tried to take some of that to heart I have also spoken with Ben frankly about my disappointment in our current school superintendent, our school board, and their decision to close his school. I have let him see me cry and be angry about this closure. I have listened to his sadness at leaving the only school he's ever known and encouraged his excitement that he will be part of a new school community in the fall. I've reminded him that although many of his closest friends will not be going with him that those friendships don't have to end.
And today, even though our time at Crest Drive is over, and our wonderful school is closing its doors for the last time, I am trying to hold in my heart the positives.
That my son learned to read at Crest, opening the door to a lifetime love of books.
That my son practiced kindness and respect on a daily basis, something that is reinforced by staff and his peers.
That my son has been taught by so many amazing things (math, art, science, music, social studies, p.e., reading, writing, and more) by a talented, loving staff.
That my son has come out of his shell and tried new things and had so many different, fun experiences.
Thank you is not enough but it is all I have today.
And even though I will be one of the many shedding tears today I will try to hold these words in my heart:
"Don't Cry Because It's Over, Smile Because it Happened"- Dr. Seuss