Last week I moved out of one school and into another.
Mostly, that’s true.
However, the stories remain. I’ve brought all of them with me.
All of the resources, exemplars and memorabilia are now packed and sitting in boxes in a different building. The packing of all those stories happened in a flurry of four days.
A week earlier, 30 moving boxes had arrived. The division had said they would be able to move my things in early August; upon overhearing that news, my boys had said they would show up the last day of school and that they would bring their half-tons.
So, the pack was on.
It went rather smoothly, except that it was final exam time, report card time and the most difficult part, I really had to leave!
I had readied myself for the oncoming rush of emotion. I had steeled myself.
I was ready!
I cried every moment.
Packing consisted of simply stuffing my dearest and best treasures into boxes. I cried every moment; the kids didn’t fit into boxes, or not voluntarily!
I discovered a few things during the pack that I didn’t know about or had forgotten: a parachute, 80 bouncy balls and 7 machetes. Somewhere during my focus on packing those last few boxes it seems I had come to have already wrapped-up my magic wand long before it was time to pack it away as well. Oh, our stories that had once belonged only here to our family classroom-space, now belonged too to our shared adventures and our stories, and live long in our collective memory.
Last week, I said goodbye to our graduates. Students in our cozy little K-12 family school kept stopping by for hugs and to share stories.
I cried every moment.
Soon, all 30 boxes began to brim.
That final Wednesday, the boys backed a half-ton up to the school’s front doors and we loaded the graffittied out-of-tune piano, and hauled it into the city to its new space. Sure, I had heard the well meaning words of some, “Cori, do you really need to take the piano?”
However, I’ve come to listen to different stories too. One of the students at my new space, upon seeing the piano, rested his fingers atop the keys; the piano fitting perfectly in its new smaller home.
After that move, the five members of the moving crew went for slushies before heading back. After all, we needed more time, and I suppose, I still had year-end final Language Learning conversations that afternoon.
Friday arrived and I was panicked. The staff had offered to set aside their own work and venture into my class to help pack. However, at 10:00 am a team of grade 9 & 10 students arrived. “We’re here to help.” And they set to work, without my direction and because they wanted to be there, to help me, to honour our family. A few had been there all week helping, even though there had been no classes.
Silently, solemnly, as family, we packed boxes.
Around 11:30 am a community member also suddenly arrived. She and the morning team loaded her SUV. She suggested she’d meet us around 3:30 pm, saving me a return trip later that night.
I realized I was surrounded with love. I was surrounded by family.
Then, the boys arrived. I had taken to wearing my sunglasses indoors.
We loaded our vehicles. I cried every moment.
We stuffed my SUV full. We loaded the half-ton to overflowing.
I hugged the staff who had been so profoundly supportive, and then the kids and I pulled away.
I remember several years ago having moved from my previous school to this one. I was having such a heart-missing difficult time loving this space, these kids. I really had loved my previous home. It took me a long time to love my current kids that much. Yet, I did and then, something different happened along the way. Stories. We shared stories. We listened to each other share our stories. And they became ready for me to go. Now, we are both ready.
As I pulled onto the highway and headed east, I knew that all the moments we have listened to each other, shared with each other, we have been learning to honour our own stories. These story spaces will continue! We have come to understand some of the complexities of telling, living, retelling & reliving our own narratives. We have come to understand the beauty of a trusting space that supports our sharings.
So I pulled into the new school-yard-space and we unloaded the boxes.
Okay, I drank the iced cap that the boys had stopped and picked up for me. I slurped, wore my sunglasses as a hair band while the boys filed past me, unloading boxes from three different vehicles. Then, we headed to my house to unload bookshelves. Afterwards, they drove away, leaving my daughter and I sitting on our front steps a little before 5:00 pm on the final day of school.
They drove away, but were not gone. That’s family. That’s what it’s like when family changes homes. Sad, but we take our stories along with us. Some can be boxed, most travel with us, staying perched for hours on our front stoops, tears streaming down faces.