I hope you had the time of your life

We are so close – SO CLOSE – to the end of the school year. Less than two hours to go for the elementary school, and – exhaustingly – one more half day for the junior high. I have a massive craving for the indolence of summer vacation but alas, I am not on vacation and nor will I be for some time. Although, the thought of not having to do the double morning drop-off and ensuing rush does feel vacation-like.

Remember back in the day when schools would give out actual academic and athletic achievement awards? Those days are long gone, at least in my kids’ schools. I remember getting many awards – all academic, certainly no athletic ones. Now, I guess it’s all one big theoretical “Participant” award, and to be honest, sometimes I wish I was the recipient of that kind of award today. Sometimes I feel like the very fabric of boring adult jobs would be much livened up by receiving an award; however, there are no awards for putting out the garbage on the correct day every other week, or always getting the recycling and compost out to be picked up. Maybe the lack of a gross overflowing garbage or disgustingly smelly compost is just universally understood to be its own award.

Still, an award would be nice.

Yesterday was the Grade Six Graduation, and I wondered how long into the ceremony it would be before I started crying. It turns out, negative thirty minutes. Half an hour prior to the ceremony, I popped into the main office to say goodbye to the beloved principal and administrative staff; let’s just say I am not good with goodbyes. I managed to pull myself together until the Grade Six procession into the gym, but the sight of all the dressed-up children that I have known since kindergarten – and even pre-kindergarten – not to mention my own child, had me reaching for the tissues. By the time the children sang True Colours, I was a complete mess. My friend’s daughter was in the choir, directly in front of me, and she kept shooting me very concerned looks.

The thing is, it’s not just the fleeting passing of time and my children growing up rapidly. I mean, that’s part of it, but even more so is the thought of saying goodbye to the elementary school that has been a significant part of my life, since 2009. I spent so many hours at that school, I invested so much of myself in it. I have made so many friends there and I spent an enormous amount of time with them, all of us getting to know each other on the playground. I can’t remember the last time I was at the playground, but I have many happy memories of standing with my circle of friends, chatting as our kids climbed on the structures or sledded down the hill in the winter. After all those lonely toddler years, it felt like a whole new chapter, and my girlfriends have created a community and support structure to be treasured.

I’m just not good with goodbyes.

I know, I know, my friends are still here and our kids are moving on to the same junior high together. And I do like the junior high too – I am ecstatic to have both kids at the same school, instead of different ones with a 70 minute difference in drop-off and dismissal times. I’m thrilled to have my boys at a school that has Phys Ed every day, that has a cafeteria for the occasional lunch purchase, that has fun option classes to take and a new community to embrace.

I’m just not good with goodbyes.

But onward and upward. Doors close, windows open, and to be honest, the world feels wonderful and wide-open right now. The kids are at this amazing age where they are independent and interesting and they love to hang out in the neighbourhood buying Slurpees and frozen yogurt, my friends and I are all diving into our interests and work and are still able to stay connected with our kids and each other, summer is upon us and it’s GOOD. Life is very very good and I am eternally grateful.

But you know, I’m just not good with goodbyes.


  1. Awww Nicole you are the best! This was also my last year with elementary school, as mackenzie is now moving to the big school with her Brothers. You absolutely will always have the big award in my eyes. You are amazing! Enjoy the summer and hope to see you in august!

  2. June finished up elementary this year, too, but I was ready to move on. I never loved her school the way you loved your boys’ elementary school.

  3. My third son graduated from 8th grade June 1st but missed graduation because a kid hit him in the back of the head on the last day of school. He hit the kid back. This other kid – new to the school about 3 months before school let out. He was a punk, who my son barely new. My kid never had so much as a detention. He gets along well with everyone and is often praised by his PE teacher for engaging an autistic student who gets nervous in PE. Anyway, the incident happened on a field trip and it turns out the teachers were all in another part of the building – bowling. Yep, bowling. Anyway, both boys got suspended. My son missed graduation.

    I have never been a fan of my kids’ principal – long story. Happy to have this guy move on to high school. I still have 3 kids left at the junior high/grade school. Only one of them is a boy though, which is probably a good thing because unfortunately our junior high hates boys.

    Glad you had a fabulous experience at your sons’ school!

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