How do I say goodbye? It is an art I haven’t yet mastered. I was never really the sentimental type. I don’t get overly attached to things or even places for that matter. But people, relationships, and experiences …. my heart holds a special affinity for those. How do I say goodbye to the place that has for nearly two decades been the keeper of the relationships I value and experiences I treasure?
In my time here, I transformed from single to married, lost my father, birthed my two children, lost my mother, got divorced, found love again and lost that partner suddenly. Essentially, . . . .my life happened here. As all of those crucial events occurred, there was this small group of people, I have come to refer to as my “nucleus,” that celebrated my triumphs, turned the light on when I was in the dark, supported me as I navigated substantial loss and devastation and cheered for me as I rebuilt …. .time after time. They are more than family, they are part of who I am.
My desk has been nestled between an Ohio State fan to my left and a Clemson Tiger Alum to my right where I have been greeted with office jokes and nonstop banter for almost nineteen years. I keep telling them, “It is amazing I have lasted this long.” Honestly though, for all of the days when my life seemed to be spiraling downward outside the walls of this place, I am grateful that these two have offered me moments of escape and laughter, words of wisdom and shoulders to lean on, that kept me both grounded and in the game.
I have walked into countless classrooms, taught thousands of lessons, inspired hundreds of students and have grown as both an educator and a human. All of this time, I have been doing exactly what I love to do. Teach. This place has been a gift. I am lucky.
As I hang my hat on the wall, excited to embark on a new journey, in a new place, maybe I don’t say goodbye at all. Maybe, I gracefully walk my last steps within these walls, and simply say, “Thank you. For…. .EVERYTHING.”