Thursday was the last day of school for the kids, and it was a day filled with mixed emotions. But we started the day in celebratory fashion, with donuts! Henry made quite an assortment platter for himself.
Now that may seem like an awful lot of donuts, but it is important to note that Henry basically just eats the frosting and a bit of the top layer of cake.
Amelia got to wear her jammies for her last day of virtual school, and I heard her laughing and having a great time with her class. Not only is this the end of the school year, by all accounts this will also be the end of Amelia being virtual. It was the end of an era when she closed the lid on her Chromebook around lunchtime. She’ll be going back to the classroom in fall, and she’s looking forward to that.
But as exciting as the start of summer, the march toward third grade and seeing her friends in person again is, the day was bittersweet. When Amelia finished, she came out of her room, gave me a hug and started to cry. She is really, really going to miss her teacher.
Amelia’s teacher has been amazing. In these unprecedented and immensely challenging times, we can’t say enough about the job that our kids teachers have done. And in Amelia’s case, her teacher managed to keep her engaged and learning through the screen. There would be small group activities where Amelia was the only student to show up, so she really formed a tight bond with her teacher. And she was sad for that to come to an end.
I did my best to console her, and assure her that we’d stay in touch with her teacher. I also assured her that is OK to be sad. Saying goodbye is hard, even when it’s a teacher you’ve only actually seen in person a couple of times. Good teacher-student bonds can be developed in any format.
It has, in fact, been a week of change. On Wednesday, we also had to stay goodbye to Henry’s ABA therapist. She’d been with Henry almost since the beginning last summer, and was recently promoted to other ventures in her company. Before leaving she helped Henry get used to the new therapist, who is going to be great, but still, saying goodbye was hard.
Like Amelia, Henry experienced mixed emotions about this and the end of his Pre-K experience. He reallly loves school, his teachers and the friends he’s made here. He talks often about how excited he is for summer and how much he wants to be in kindergarten, but I also know he is sad about all these changes.
But, learning how to say goodbye is also part of life, and we’re all learning a little about that this week. Amelia’s spirits buoyed a little in the afternoon, and she walked with me to take Henry to his last day of preschool. On the way back, she and I spent a few minutes playing at the park, and we left making jokes and laughing together.
When Henry was finished with school, he came out with bags of candy and swag, super excited about the fun day he had.
With school over, I took the kids on a little trip to the library! We had to return some books and the kids picked out a stack of new books for the summer. Erin had taken them there a few weeks ago, and this was my first time. It’s a really nice library and the kids love it and showed me around.
After that, we ran to Target to pick up a couple things and I let the kids pick out a little something. Amelia got a toy princess cell phone that she declared “the coolest thing ever.” She spent the rest of the evening snapping pretend pictures, make-believe texting, and “talking” to various friends and family.
Henry even took a call from his “best friend” at school.
In the end, it was a perfect, if unconventional, last day of school. It’s OK to recognize sadness in change, while being happy about carefree summer days ahead. I couldn’t be prouder of Amelia and Henry for putting so much into their school experience, dealing with change in a difficult year, and being able to put on big smiles and have fun together through it all.