G-9DFZYRQ57N

One time a while back, I saw something on Facebook about some foreign country that doesn’t have a word that means “goodbye.”  They have some alternative word that means something fluffy and magical like, “Until my heart connects with you again.”  That isn’t the direct translation, but you get the idea.  (At least I hope you get the idea because I couldn’t hunt down the meme after hours of searching for it.  And let’s be real…I saw it on Facebook, so the reliability was questionable.)

In an ideal world, we would never have to say goodbye.  

We would never have to leave places or people we love, and the word goodbye would become obsolete.  We would just live on and on and add people to our life the further our journey went.  

Each new person and place would become another arm on our tree of life, and eventually it would all tangle together like those Kansas choke cherry bushes we had in my childhood. A beautiful, entangled, messy bush.

But we don’t live in an ideal world.  

We live in a world of uncertainty and change and goodbyes that make your heart ache.

We live in a world where home can feel both foreign and lovely at the same time.

We live in a world where change is the only constant and you sometimes have to say goodbye to people and things that you will miss.

Goodbye is inevitable.

This month has brought me several goodbyes.  

Goodbye to our home sweet Arizona after an epic surprise trip.  Those memories will never be duplicated.

Goodbye to my first ever clinical cohort for my new job.  Those six people are magical educators who are changing the world daily, and they let me be a part of their amazing teacher gang for the past three months.  I’ll miss them terribly (even if I don’t miss working until 11 p.m. every Thursday).

Goodbye to my motivation for deep cleaning my house over the summer break.  I’ll miss that one for sure.

Some goodbyes were short and bittersweet, and some were the heart wrenching kind that rip your heart out and leave it to bleed in the humid Georgia heat.  

But all of them brought me something else too…

Perspective.

I won’t lie and tell you all that the most difficult thing I did this month wasn’t returning back to AZ.  Amazing?  Yes.  Worth it?  Absolutely.  Heart wrenching?  Don’t even start.

I tried for days and weeks to write my typical “post dance recital post” after the big reunion day in Arizona, but I just couldn’t do it.  Even after eight years of “post recital dancing posts,” I just couldn’t.  The emotions were there, but man, were they a tangled mess.  

Love.  Sadness.  Belonging.  Pride.  Regret.  Hope.  Happiness. 

I wanted to tell you all about how tears cleansed my soul and left me feeling free.  I even began a blog post about it titled, “Tears Cleanse the Soul.”  But as I tried to write that post on a plane while being a mess of emotion, my soul didn’t feel cleansed at all.

It felt heavy.

It was heavy with emotions I didn’t expect and feelings that were lingering way longer than I anticipated.

I was a hot mess.  Let’s be honest.  I’m still a hot mess.

However, I decided that I would happily greet Georgia, grab my anti-humidity hairspray, some extra duty bug spray, and get on with my happy, humid life.

Until Thursday night hit me.  Hard.

I know that you all have missed my crazy classroom posts.  Escape room chaos.  CSI themed Open House shenanigans.  All day reading marathons equipped with smorgasbord breakfasts and themed crafts.

But picture this…

Me…but multiplied by numerous teachers all around the world in different countries.  Hundreds of children being positively affected by humans that I was fortunate enough to share some time with as fellow educators.  Pretty amazing, right?!

Well, don’t be fooled.  Saying goodbye to these successful adults was just as hard as saying goodbye to a room of 30 nine-year-olds. 

It’s pretty devastating when you have to say farewell (or whatever that one country says) and send them on their way with hopes that you can somehow still be a part of the amazing world of education that they have created.

Rest assured, I know I did my work to the best of my ability (albeit amateur for my first clinical group in my new role), and I know without a doubt that I poured into them as much of my heart and passion and love for teaching as I could.

Sometimes, when you pour all of your love into someone or something, you just have to rest in the assurance that it will be enough.

I know that bonding with student teachers leads to an end that doesn’t involve me.  And that’s absolutely alright! 

I knew that going back to AZ would be wonderful and hard and emotional.  I just didn’t expect that it would feel like that.

I didn’t expect this June to feel the way it has.  What I planned to say in my June post was that water heals the soul.

I wanted to tell you that it doesn’t matter if you find it in an ocean, a bath, or a freaking Starbucks cup.  Water is magical.  (Really, it is!)

I wanted to tell you that I found it in tears as dancer girl performed on the stage and as we were wheels up traveling back to GA.  I wanted to say that it was there in the tears I shed as I painstakingly edited amazing teaching videos together to try and give these candidates a memory to hold of their dedication through these past months.

But I couldn’t…because that would be a lie.

Don’t get me wrong!  I did cry when I hit “end meeting for all” on my final virtual class for these teacher friends.  

I also cried when I knew my sweet girl would get to perform her trio with her best friends for the last time on a stage.  I cried when dancer daughter’s long time dance idol agreed to dance a duet with her.  

Mind you, this would be a “one-time-only, dance with her role model, be on stage with the dancer she always aspired to be” type of dance.  It would have to be choreographed over FaceTime calls 2,000 miles apart between an eleven-year-old and an almost twenty something and somehow make magic on the stage.

And it did.  It SO did.

And I cried.

I also cried when she hugged her friends that she hasn’t held in a year, when she stood on that stage as an “honored guest” in the show, and when she stood stoically at the end of her first, self-choreographed solo.  I cried buckets full watching this girl perform her own version of her the first solo she ever performed at six-years-old.

And as I sat on the side of the stage, I wondered…

How do I leave all of this?

How do I leave my friends, her friends, and those who welcomed us back in like we’d never left?  How do these tears bring solace when I feel so torn up inside?

Spoiler alert: I still don’t know the answers.

What I do know is that home means something different now.  Home is green landscapes and tree frogs and humidity in the summer evenings.  Home is a lot of things different than the AZ desert.

I also know that despite the distance that may separate me from those amazing teachers that I was so privileged to work with, my impact may still be felt like ripples in a lake.

Despite all of the things this month has brought, a few things haven’t changed.  

Dance. It is where dear daughter’s heart lives and where my sense of belonging comes to life.  

Home (wherever it is) means we get to learn and grow and love and continue this journey we have embarked on.  

Teaching is, and always will be, the reason I was called to this Earth.  

It may be difficult at times, and we may cry a little as that plane takes off, but this much I know…

You can always come home.  You can always find purpose.  And you can always, always water your own grass.

This isn’t my typical post-recital post, but then again, these aren’t the typical post-recital conditions.  

So here’s what I think…

Goodbyes are for those who don’t believe.  

Goodbyes are for the sad souls who don’t see the possibilities of tomorrow.  For those who forget that technology connects us and human empathy sustains us.  Maybe we’re all like a big, beautiful, tangled choke cherry bush after all.

Goodbyes are for those who lose sight of their grass.  As I sit here on my back porch with the mosquitoes and the spiders and symphony of crickets and frogs, I have realized…Georgia humidity has kept my grass bright green.  How about you?

Be grateful (for perspective), water your own grass,

…and for goodness sakes, drink coffee.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *