Ending the Year on a Positive Note

What an emotional last day.

The entire staff had shirts made with one of our principal’s sayings, “Ending the year on a positive note.” His said, “Ending my career on a positive note.”

And man, did he ever.

We all gathered for a staff photo before school started, and it was a sight to see everyone in those shirts.

His office had also been decorated and filled with balloons all over his floor. Mr. Kent came around class to class to deliver perfect attendance awards and say goodbye. In Kindergarten we joke he is like a favorite grandpa, the kids see him and get all excited and jazzied up and want to hug him, then he leaves and we have to calm them all down.

That’s the sign of a man who does his job well. If the children love you, and the staff, and the families…

You can do anything together.

I gave my end of year speech to the kids. I told them how lucky we are that we all live in the same town, and explained the rules to the game “Spot

Your Teacher this Summer”. I told them to keep their eyes open and I may even wear disguises and wigs.

I also told them to stay off their televisions and video games and parent’s phones. I told them that when their teacher asks them what they did over the summer, “Nothing”, or “I played video games” are not the answers I want them to give.

I gave them all sidewalk chalk, a book and a blank journal. Penny gave them a magic wand of bubbles.

I told them to blow bubbles on the beach, draw pictures on the sidewalk and make the world more beautiful. Write stories in their journals and use their imagination. Read under a tree, find beautiful seashells. Look up at the clouds during the day and the stars at night. Build a fort on rainy days and read.

Play.

Laugh.

Run.

Jump.

Make memories.

Then it was time to line the hallway for the clap out. It gets me every time, but more so this year. It’s always hard hugging my former students goodbye as they walk past, especially the one who are crying. I stood and gave out hugs to those who needed. My niece walked by and I gave her flowers, then Quinn came and hugged me. On my video you hear me crying, kissing kids quick, and telling them I love them. Then I marched out my kinders for the last time and was amazed.

I had spoken to my friend Kerri and also asked on social media for former students to come “clap out Mr. Kent”. As we walked out, the street was lined with former and current families and students. We even had some seniors who were graduating the same day find time to run up to school in their caps and gowns.

My Facebook feed was full of pictures of seniors looking beautiful and proud. My niece graduated and I sent her a text promising ice cream this summer. These kids grow up so fast.

Don’t blink.

Looking at all of the former students and families was beautiful.

That’s what makes our school so special. Mr. Kent and Mrs. Williams love these children, long after they leave our building.

You can’t find two better principals anywhere.

After we cried and waved goodbye and cheered the children off to summer, I finished packing up my room and loaded up my Jeep with my kids.

I remember the year I was diagnosed having to pack up my room, and packed it up so if I died or couldn’t come back to work that September,

it would be easy for a new teacher to come set up.

Now I pack up so it’s easy for me in September. I felt like the Terminator as I took one last look at the room and said, “I’ll be back”.”

Then I ran home and quick set up the house for the end of year party. This year people had a couple of options, and I said mine was super low key, bring your kids to swim in the pool, and just breathe.

It was awesome.

My pool was full of kids swimming, and both of my principals ended up coming. We all laughed and relaxed and breathed and I looked around and thanked God for all of these people. My kids also decided they just may have met some kindred spirits and are already planning play dates and get togethers.

The last of the guests left around 6:30 or so, and I got an email from my oncologist.

I had sent her an email that morning with links to research papers and studies on how adding Celebrex, an anti inflammatory, to a protocol using 5FU, capecitibine/xeloda, has proven to be effective in attacking cancer stem cells in stage four colon cancer patients and I would like to try that possibly.

She agreed.

So at my next appointment I’ll be adding a new drug.

I felt a little like Huey Lewis and the News…”I want a new drug… one that won’t make me sick…

My Tomcat Joe came home from his game, we had dinner, and then I went to bed. I talked to Paula and we discussed how social media makes it easy for people to be mean.

Especially Christians.

I ended my day commenting to angry Christians who were writing how Jesus would judge other people’s choices.

I told them Jesus only told us one thing.

Love one another.

Three words that people have such a hard time following.

Today will be busy. Maddie has a work activity, I have to go run around for last minute camp supplies for all of the kids. They all leave Sunday early in the morning. They have birthday parties and all sorts of things before that so it’s crunch time.

I’m also going to the wake of a former student, Michael Hubbard. As sad as I am, I am thankful God had me in his life and him and his mom in mine. They ended up being my teachers.

I’m in a detox bath now as I have some soreness and some hand and foot tingling. I’ll be here probably another half hour or so and will keep reading a great book.

“Confessions of a Christian Mystic” by River Jordan. It’s short stories and fills you with peace. I highly recommend it for summer reading.

Today, may we all follow those three simple words…”Love one another”

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

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