We recently celebrated the Moving On Ceremony at the preschool and of course I got emotional. Saying goodbye is difficult after you have poured so much into such sweet relationships. It’s not just letting go of the children that we have cared for so much but also the parents/families that become such a special part of our hearts. This moving on ceremony was bittersweet in that there were only two families that were still here from the time before we shut down for the pandemic. When I said goodbye to the families that day, I spoke to one Mom and told her I feel like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz when she says goodbye to the Scarecrow. I told her as Dorothy said, “I think I will miss you most of all!” and then we both sobbed. These are such precious times in the lives of these young families. Yes, there are challenging behaviors in the preschool years: the big emotions, the season of questioning WHY? to every statement you make and Oy, the potty-training days!
But those of us that have moved way beyond those years would go back to those idyllic days of having our little ones close to us in a heartbeat! The days before the schedules of sports and music practices rule your calendar. The days before they graduate and have the nerve to take a job in a city far away from Mom’s home cooking. The experience of taking a vacation with your little ones and seeing the wonder in their eyes as they experience an amazing journey for the first time. It is now summer break from preschool, and it takes me back to those days with our young ones where they would wake up looking for a new adventure each day. My older daughter Rebecca was not content with just sleeping late and relaxing, but she used to always make a summer bucket list that she was determined that we complete each summer. There were not only trips to the library, but she would set a goal of how many books she would read that summer. There were trips to the town pool, day trips, play dates, and visits to see cousins. We always had to take a trip to the Jersey shore beaches and boardwalk and favorite ice cream shops. The list seemed endless, and money was always tight, but we managed to be creative and get all the adventures in somehow. Occasionally we even took a summer vacation. But I will never forget our first trip to Disneyworld when our girls were 8 and 4. Ok, they both got carsick and airsick, and it was crazy hot, but the 4-year-old was on a quest to find her favorite princesses. When she saw Ariel, the mermaid pointed at Rachel’s red hair and then pointed to her own, and told her we are the same, we both have red hair! I wish I could have frozen that moment in time and always reassured my tiny girl that yes, your hair is different than many others and it makes you special but there will be times when you find people in your life that are like you even if they don’t look like you. You will find the people in your life that share the same beliefs and be able to stand up proud of who you are. I am so proud that both of my girls have been able to take the faith we instilled in them as young children and make it meaningful to their lives. I am happy that their faith in God has brought them to become vocal advocates to defend others. Both of our daughters have become a force of goodness in the world who address and come to the aid of those that fight for justice. Our faith and the way in which we worship God may not look the same in our children’s lives. The truth is that my children’s faith has taught me courage. In my children, I see their courage as integrity and their compassion as their strength. Both of our girls are grown and live far away and don’t have long summer vacations to spend with us anymore but writing this has inspired me to write my own summer bucket list. Life just really moves so quickly, and the last few years have taught me to make each day count, don’t sweat the small stuff, and find the things and relationships in life that are meaningful! What would you put on your bucket list of things you want to see or do this summer?