Yesterday, my 6th grader had to read a speech he had written about his elementary school experience in front of his class, as did all of his classmates, to select a student to read their commencement speech at 6th grade promotion next week. I read the speech he had written, it was simple yet emotionally strong enough to make my eyes well up with tears. No wonder then, that while he was standing in front of the class reading his speech, he stumbled when he read he would miss his friends. He cried and couldn’t continue so his teacher finished reading his speech. We know this move is not easy on him but to have to publicly display his 12-year-old emotions is rough.
Today at a our son’s third grade class Reader’s Theatre production of Charlotte’s Web, I felt a wave of emotional finality at the elementary school. I said my first “goodbye in case I don’t see you next week”. Goodbyes are going to happen, the countdown is getting close to single digits, goodbyes are inevitable. I just wasn’t ready at 9 AM. I need time to prepare. I need time to brace myself. I need to bring tissues!
We have been at our elementary school for 6 years. We have made many great friends. Five families are hosting a going away party for us tonight. Their thoughtfulness, kindness, and generosity humble me completely. Everyone’s excited except no one wants the party to happen to have to say goodbye…except our youngest who just wants to go swimming and eat tacos. He’s ready to party. This is our last big event, our last get-together.
In our virtual world, goodbyes aren’t as forever and final as they once were due to limitations with high-priced long distance calls and the chore of writing a letter. Goodbyes are not any easier though. My son may play virtual FIFA Soccer video games with his OC friends, but won’t play on the same real soccer team. I can email and text my friends but I won’t volunteer with them, see them regularly or just hang out. Virtual and real living are not the same. Living in Spokane will not be the same as living in OC, nor do we want it to be. We want change and the price tag for change is that our lives won’t be the same. With friends, that’s difficult and emotional.
Don’t forget the tissues, there will be plenty of tears.