In the spirit of Christmas (or, more accurately, the spirit of almost-Christmas...but let’s not get complicated) I have a question, a relatable situation, and a point to make. And now, let me call your attention to the first order of business.
Question: Do you recall the part in The Grinch Stole Christmas when our furry green friend began to list Who enemies from the Whoville phonebook? It went something like this, “Aardvark Who, I HATE YOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUU!!! Next Who, I hate you!” Very reminiscent of his equally stinky and bitter cousin, Oscar the Grouch, the Grinch peruses the page, all while assigning a variety of angry feelings to each name. He continues with, “Hate, hate, hate, double hate,” and now for the finale, “LOATHE ENTIRELY!!!” (If you would like a reminder of this scene: www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbNglJqHvCQ&feature=related)
Relatable situation: Although I tell the kids not to use the word ‘hate’ directed at anyone or anything, I am about to break my rule for the sake of this argument. Anyway, back to the relatable situation. I cannot entirely understand the Grinch’s animosity towards the Whos, as I myself have never even remotely disliked a Who. On the contrary, I have always found them quite agreeable. However, the one thing that does fill me with vengeful emotions is something as seemingly pain-free as a goodbye. To paraphrase the Grinch’s format, ‘Disgusting vegetables, I HATE YOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUU!!! Early mornings, I hate you! Hate, hate, hate, double hate. And goodbyes? LOATHE ENTIRELY!!!’ Simply put, good-byes have never, and probably will never, be easy for me. I cried for half an hour when my two goldfish, Marcus and Mia, died even though I hadn’t even owned them for 24 hours. And I kept them in my freezer until I could give them a proper Viking burial. But my mom threw them away before I could do so. And then I cried some more. I just couldn’t bid them farewell. When I have to part with friends or family, I’ve reverted to the ‘See you later’ line because that other word is like a furry tongue filling my mouth.
Point: I just said good-bye to 60 beautiful children. For five weeks, I won’t laugh with them or cry with them. I won’t learn with them or learn from them. I won’t hold their precious faces in my hands or secure a quick hug before they slip through my arms again. To be honest, it’s devastating. I have always thought life was best spent roaming and floating from place to place, person to person. But I have never been so happy than with these kids, grounded. For some reason, a line from Peter Pan keeps redirecting my thoughts; “Never say good-bye...because good-bye means going away and going away means forgetting.” Is that what scares me about good-bye? Do I simply refuse to acknowledge change, and the horrifying possibility of forgetting even a second? Maybe I’m just terrified that I myself am the forgettable one.
Then I realized something. Good-bye is just a word. A word that represents separation. But it never means that I’m apart from the overwhelming emotion, the beautiful awakening, and the enveloping love that came before the good-bye. So even if the next five weeks away from all my kids turned into forever, even if I never got to hear Gaby’s laugh again, or watch Octavio say his memory verse, or compare nail polish with Jazmin, all of those things would be buried deep in my heart, ready to resurface at any moment. Those memories aren’t lost with good-bye. So for now, all’s well in my soul.
Just a little girl time. No big deal.
Oh Octavio :) Way too precious for words!
Ashley and Perla, Sweet Pea #1 and Sweet Pea #2!