We bid farewell to fifth and tenth grade today, and there’s a quiet I’ve never experienced on the last day of school. A silence so intense, it speaks volumes.
My girls are growing—grown in so many ways. They need me less in the ways that made unexpectedly single parenting so challenging, and that’s a welcome relief. Still, sometimes I feel like I missed so much because I was in the trenches in those early years after Michael died. Our girls were only 3 and 8 years old.
Really, though, I know I just experienced it from a different view. Every moment savored, even if it wasn’t how I thought or hoped it would be. Sometimes different is just that—not bad or better, just not the version you ran through in your mind.
As the school bus drove away today, an ache washed over me, knowing that in a few hours another school year would be done. Another year he missed.
Then Firework came on the radio as I pulled out of the parking lot, and I felt him there with me. Yes, the song by Katy Perry. Whenever I hear that song, my mind wanders to the P.S. 58 auditorium, beach balls bouncing, parents laughing, dancing and crying, as we celebrated the end of second grade.
It was the last school graduation we shared with him, our fate just six weeks later unbeknownst to us all. I used to show up early to every school recital, play or graduation to get the good seats (yes, Matthew, sometimes the women get the good seats). He used to laugh at me, mostly because I didn’t trust his idea of good seats would be mine, so I took on the task of showing up a good half hour early to save our seats, coffee in one hand, tissues clutched in another.
It’s strange to be the keeper of these memories now. They feel distant and dream-like, belonging to someone else.
Music pairing: The Eye by Brandi Carlile