This past Thursday was the last day of camp and despite the preoccupation with the fun party we threw for the kids it was still a bitter sweet day. Having to part with the kids was not one of my considerations in whether or not to accept this position because at that point it was still such a distance and unattached thing. And even if I had considered it I don’t think it would have had much of an influence because there is no way I could have understood just how attached to my kids I was about to become. No amount of paper plate awards or letters makes parting with my kids any less of an unsettling experience.
I wonder who this is easier for – us or them? My biggest challenge has been the transition from knowing so much about their lives to the uncertainty. As well as worrying that they think leaving them is our choice – yes we accepted the positions knowing they would end – but if I could, I would have not left, and I’m sure my coworkers would agree.
The last hour with my kids was spent on a school bus where we rode along with them on the bus route so we could say goodbye to each kid as their stop came – as much as we planned this because “the kids would love it” I think it was more for us. Getting to say goodbye to each kids individually made it feel more like a proper conclusion than I think them all leaving at once would have. As much as the party, the letters and the riding home with the kids cushioned the day, it inevitably ended in tears, the only difference being they now occurred on an elementary school bus.