Today was Maddie's last day of school. This photo was taken in May, actually—she did not look nearly so happy at the end of the day today. It was a difficult day for her; goodbye to her beloved first grade teacher, her school library, her principal, her other teachers, her bus driver, the building, her friends... not just the "see you in the fall" variety of goodbye that everyone else shared, but the "goodbye, so long" variety. I'm not sure there is anything I can say that will make her feel less sad about it, because it is simply a sad thing. I completely understand. I've been there—leaving Great Falls High School on the last day of teaching there for five years was one of the hardest goodbyes I've ever experienced.
Today was a difficult day for me, too. One example of a hundred examples: when one of the Bolivian grandmas gave me, Bridget and Gracie a big hug today at the bus stop after realizing that we won't be back in the fall, I think I startled her with my small, awkward outburst of fighting back tears. I'm not really that good at the clean wrap-up of an experience, despite having had many opportunities to practice these last 14 years. How will we ever find another Rosario to greet us every morning and afternoon? To cluck at me when I forget Bridget's sweatshirt on a cool day? To encourage our varying degrees of Spanish speaking? We won't. The same goes for any number of people we've become friends with at the bus stop or at school over the past two years. Eventually we will once again be comforted by the age-old military family truth: had the Air Force not plunked us down in Virginia, we never would have met any of these people who have become such an important part of us in the first place. This week, though, we're just not ready for reason. This week, it's just too sad.
Maddie and I worked on a mix CD to present to her teacher today as an end-of-the-year gift. I'm glad we did, because whenever we let music take on even more meaning, it will help carry us through.
Invitation • Shel Silverstein
We're Going To Be Friends • The White Stripes
Hello Hello • Dan Zanes
Alphabet of Nations • They Might Be Giants
3 Rs • Jack Johnson
Three Little Fishies • Kay Kyser
Five Song • Sesame Street Cast
Peanut Butter & Jelly • Lisa Loeb
Zeroes • They Might Be Giants
Palo Bonito • Dan Zanes and Friends
I Love My Library • Lunch Money
Why Does the Sun Shine • They Might Be Giants
I Get Ideas • Trout Fishing in America
I'm a Mess • Laurie Berkner
All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth • Spike Jones & His City Slickers
West Indian Counting Song • Aggie Decaul, Courin Gibbs, and Dan Zanes
I Can Add • They Might Be Giants
Violin • They Might Be Giants
I Like To Run, I Like to Jump • David Mead
Everybody's Coming To the Zoo • Lunch Money
Stand • R.E.M.
50 Nifty United States • Ray Charles/Great Land Singers
This Land Is Your Land • Peter, Paul and Mary
My Own Two Hands • Ben Harper and Jack Johnson
It's Not Goodbye • Lisa Loeb